Even though they’re considered among the cream of the NHL crop, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane did not see their All-Star elite status coming.
“We got called into [coach Joel Quenneville’s] office this morning,’’ Kane said Wednesday. “We kind of looked at each other like, `What did we do over the past couple of days that got us in trouble?’ He gave us the news. We just kind of looked at each and laughed. I thought we were in trouble.’’
Far from being in trouble, Toews was named captain of one NHL All-Star team, to be known as Team Toews.
And Kane was named an assistant captain of the other, Team Foligno, to be led by Nick Foligno of Columbus, where the All-Star game will be held on Jan. 25.
The captains and their assistants will select the remainder of their teams on Jan. 23.
“It’s pretty cool,’’ Toews said. “It’s not something I expected. It’s definitely an honor, so it’s going to be fun sitting across [the draft table] from Kaner.’’
The Fantasy Draft format will create some talking points for Toews and Kane.
“Yeah, for sure,’’ Toews said. “It’ll go both ways. It’ll be fun. I think a lot of people made a big deal out of him passing over me in the draft a couple times last time we did it, so there’ll definitely be some back and forth.’’
Beyond that, the Hawks’ other All-Stars–Goalie Corey Crawford and defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook–already have been weighing in.
“I think Dunc’s a little upset that I got named assistant captain,’’ Kane said. “He was asking, `Why are you assistant captain?’ ’’
The confusion is somewhat understandable. While Kane will wear an `A’ for the All-Star game, Keith wears one game in and game out on his Blackhawk sweater.
Under the draft format, Toews and Kane wield some important power over Keith, Seabrook and Crawford.
“I don’t think it’s really fun for the guy who gets picked last,’’ Toews said. “I don’t think anyone means that personally. But I’ll be 100 percent honest. I wouldn’t like to get picked last. I don’t think Kaner would, either.’’
Seabrook has already made his pitch.
“He said, `Just make sure I don’t get picked last,’ ’’ Toews said. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t know. Because there’s only so much I can do about that.’ We’ll see how it goes.’’
The Kings’ Drew Doughty will join Kane as a Team Foligno assistant. Anaheims’ Ryan Getzlaf and the Rangers’ Rick Nash will be the Team Toews assistants.
The Kings’ Darryl Sutter and his staff will coach Team Foligno. Nashville’s Peter Laviolette and his staff will guide Team Toews.
Qunneville was happy for Toews and Kane.
“It’s a great compliment,’’ the coach said. “They should be proud, representing the league and being captains in the All-Star Game. They’ll have fun with the process, too, selecting the players. And they get to put them on different events in the skills competition as well. It’s fun. I’m sure they’re going to have a good time with it.’’
Taking advantage of the Hawks’ only four-day break besides next week’s All-Star slowdown, Quenneville keep things light at practice on Wednesday. He put all of his players on the ice at the same time for an old-fashioned pond-hockey scrimmage.
“I think it’s good for us,’’ Quenneville said. “I think we had good energy, good enthusiasm out here. Kind of a fun day.’