It's a rebuilding year for the Chicago Blackhawks, no question about it. With their latest loss, a 7-1 setback against the New York Rangers at United Center, it dropped them to 7-19-4 along with a ghastly -48 goal differential.
Of course, the major question on the minds of everyone is the future of franchise icons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the dynamic duo who have won three Stanley Cup championships together and are also in the final year of their identical contracts they signed after their most recent title in 2015.
And while the prevailing theory is that it will likely be Kane that could be dealt this season prior to or at the NHL Trade Deadline, the pair have accomplished yet another feat together, appearing in their 1,000th game as teammates.
"It’s been pretty amazing," Kane said. "I mean, 1,000 games, that’s a lot of games together. It's been a good ride. Obviously we came in together as rookies and, at least for me, anyway, I really leaned on him to what he was going through. We roomed together for five or six years, a couple of battles in there, but mostly good times and just kind of came up and grew up together.
"It's crazy it’s been 1,000 games but obviously he’s meant a lot to the franchise and the teams over the years with his leadership and being the captain and the way he drives the team, too. It’s been a pleasure to play with him that long."
For Toews, it's certainly hard to believe that it's already been 16 years togethers.
"There's definitely moments where it was an old married couple, especially when we played on the same line quite a bit," Toews said. "There's that healthy competitiveness we had towards each other but at the same time we made each other a lot better and we helped each other on the ice."
What will happen in Kane's future? Take a look at comments made by his agent Pat Brisson earlier this year:
“It’s very similar, yes,” Brisson told LeBrun. “The respect that both players have for each organization. Claude will have his number in the rafters in Philly one day, I do believe, and obviously Patrick as well in Chicago. Both players are very respected on those teams. Claude at the beginning of last season wanted to see how things were going to go with the Flyers. We realized pretty soon, by November, that if he wanted a chance at trying to win a Cup last season, he would have to make a decision. And he picked Florida. The Panthers were one of the most attractive teams at the trade deadline…
“It’s a very similar approach that we had with Claude,” Brisson said. “We’ll see how things go in Chicago. We’ll see how Patrick feels. We’ll probably explore things at the appropriate time later this season. I don’t want to put too much of a timeline on it. But it’s clear the Hawks won’t push him to make a decision one way or another.”