Toews: Rangers blue 'kind of looks good' on former Blackhawks teammate Kane
Count Jonathan Toews among those who were shocked when it became apparent that Patrick Kane would be traded from the Blackhawks to the Rangers.
"The possibility was there for a while," Toews said after skating with teammates Tuesday morning at the United Center as the team prepared to face the Dallas Stars. "But, yeah, (you're thinking) it's not actually going to happen. You just can't see a guy like him in another jersey."
But then news leaked out that Kane was leaving San Jose -- where the Hawks were playing -- and returning to Chicago. That's when reality set in for Toews, and a few days later Kane was wearing Rangers blue.
"It kind of looks good on him, to be honest with you," said Toews, who added with a smile: "I hate to say that.
"Just happy to see him enjoy himself playing with some really good players and being reunited with a guy like Breadman (Artemi Panarin). Kaner's such a competitor that it's going to feel good for him to go out there and play some meaningful games in the playoffs and play on the big stage."
Kane has 5 goals and 4 assists in 13 games with the Rangers, who have gone 9-3-1 with him in the lineup. New York (44-20-10) is in third place in the Metropolitan Division and 2 points behind New Jersey.
"Obviously ... they got Patrick Kane, so they're feeling pretty good about themselves right now," Toews said. "It'll be interesting to see. Definitely rooting for him to have success down the road.
"We've been playing kind of phone tag and texting back and forth. When we do get a hold of each other, it'll be nice to express my appreciation for all the memories that we had and we shared together as teammates."
Oh captain, my captain:
Jonathan Toews' ability to take part in morning skate Tuesday lifted everyone's spirits. The captain hadn't been on the ice with his teammates since the Hawks lost in Edmonton on Jan. 28.
"He's a guy that, at least for me, every time I see him, I just smile," said forward Tyler Johnson. "He has that persona. He has that 'it' about him that just makes everyone a little bit happier, so it was great to see him around."
Toews is in a race against time to get into game shape before the season ends. If he doesn't travel on a three-game trip to Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle, Toews' last three chances to play will come April 10 vs. Minnesota, April 11 at Pittsburgh and April 13 vs. Philadelphia.
After that, it seems likely Toews will retire. But no matter what happens, longtime teammates like Connor Murphy just want to see their friend happy and healthy.
"You want to see him be happy and get everything he wants and deserves, whether that's to keep playing or not," Murphy said. "You only want the best for a person like him -- for the leader he is and how humble he is and how he's carried his whole career with his work ethic and his drive and persistence to keep staying at (a high) level. ...
"It means a lot for all of us to be able to play with him, however many games that is."
Race to the bottom:
With a little more than two weeks remaining in the regular season, there are four teams that could finish dead last in the standings and wind up with a 25% chance to win the No. 1 pick in June's draft.
Columbus (.363 points percentage) and the Blackhawks (.365) are nearly tied for 32nd, while San Jose (.372) and Anaheim (.378) aren't far ahead.
Five of the Hawks' eight remaining games are against teams that are either in the playoffs or fighting for a berth. Columbus (nine games left) has seven matchups against such teams. That includes Thursday's tilt at Boston (57-12-5).
The 31st team has a 13.5% chance at the top pick; the 30th team a 11.5% chance and 29th team a 9.5% chance. The bottom 11 teams can all end up at No. 1, although the squad in 22nd place only has a 3% chance.
The draft lottery is May 8.
The Hawks signed forward Brett Seney to a one-year contract that runs through next season. The 27-year-old score 1 goal in 7 games, and also has 19 goals and 29 assists in 50 games for Rockford.