Toews was out for over two months this season due to symptoms related to a dual diagnosis of long COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. The latter kept him out for the entire 2020-21 season, though he did not disclose his CIRS diagnosis until June 2021.
Toews, who has captained the Blackhawks since the 2008-09 season, said he won't “have to get that extreme” when it comes to how he will make his decision whether to continue playing. The extreme nod was in reference to Aaron Rodgers' four-day darkness retreat, according to Mark Lazerus of The Athletic.
Toews was the leader of three Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Blackhawks, winning the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP for the 2010 playoffs. He scored 25 or more goals in eight of his 15 seasons, scoring a career-high 35 during the 2018-19 season.
Toews is set to become a free agent after this season. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Blackhawks want to retain his services. Though he's a shell of his former self as a player, Toews is and has been one of the best captains in hockey over the last decade-plus. He doesn't know yet if the games he'll be playing over the next week will be his last in the NHL.
“But at this point, I’ve realized there’s no point in continuing to stomach this struggle,” Toews said.
Toews says it's still hard for him to finish some shifts or give that little extra bit of effort. That may make his future decision easy. Regardless of what he decides, hockey fans should remember Jonathan Toews as a player and leader who always gave his all.