The Blackhawks consider Jonathan Toews one of the cornerstones of their future. Tuesday night he showed his corner of the foundation should be rock solid.
The Hawks' top draft pick in 2006 scored a goal and added an assist in his NHL debut as the Hawks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in an exhibition at Nationwide Arena.
"It's a confidence builder and, hopefully, I can keep it up the next few days because that's my game and I like to make plays in the offensive zone," Toews said. "There were a couple of times I took the puck to the net hard and I was happy I got rewarded."
Toews scored the last of the Hawks' three power-play goals and assisted on the first—by Troy Brouwer. Brouwer's goal came after the Hawks entered the second period down 2-0 and was the first of four straight scores as Cam Barker, Rene Bourque and Toews followed.
"As a coach, you believe in your players and from what I saw in camp I believed in him from Day One," Hawks coach Denis Savard said of Toews. "He's going to continue to be put in situations to succeed. He's going to get a lot of goals in his career. I like how he battles."
The game featured 30 penalties, 16 for the Hawks. All three of Columbus' goals were on the power play.
"I like the fact we battled back," Savard said. "We talked about character—our kids are showing character."
Toews' goal came on a scramble in front of the Blue Jackets' net and he slipped the puck past goalie Steve Mason.
"I'm always happy to get the garbage goals like that," Toews said. "Obviously I take them anyway they come. I was getting a few chances and now I'm starting to find my way when I get the puck and scoring chances."
Debut comingPatrick Kane, the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft, will make his Hawks debut Wednesday night at the United Center when the Hawks play host to Columbus. Toews, 2005 first-round pick Jack Skille and last season's leading scorer, Martin Havlat, also will play
One-timersThe Hawks reassigned five players to their junior teams, including 2007 second-round draft pick (56th overall) Akim Aliu. Richard Greenop (Windsor), Maxime Tanguay (Rimouski), Ben Shutron (Kingston) and Josh Unice (Kitchener). The Nigerian-born Aliu will play for London of the Ontario Hockey League. … Patrick Sharp, Tuomo Ruttu and Jim Vandermeer wore the "A" as assistant captains Tuesday night.