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NOTES: Blackhawks' Toews accepts criticism

CHICAGO – No matter what, Jonathan Toews knows the spotlight always shines on him as captain of the Blackhawks.

It’s sort of like being a quarterback on ice.

“I think when things go well for our team, sometimes I get maybe more credit than I deserve,” Toews said Friday after taking part in the Hawks’ optional skate at the United Center. “And I think the same goes the other way.

“I understand that’s part of it.”

The line of critics has been long, and Toews’ temper has been short.

Teammates reiterated their faith in the Hawks’ captain despite his zero-point, three-penalty performance in Game 4. Toews has no goals, three assists and 10 penalty minutes in nine playoff games this season.

After Toews’ third penalty Thursday in Detroit, veteran Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook skated toward his longtime teammate for a quick pep talk.

“He’s the best player on the team and our leader, and if the rest of the group sees him like that, it’s going to trickle down,” Seabrook said. “So we need him to be focused and ready. I just told him to sit down and take a couple of deep breaths and be ready to be back out there because we need him.”

Toews denied that frustration had interfered with his focus.

“I understand that what happened in the second period wasn’t a good thing,” Toews said. “I don’t attribute it to me losing my temper. I think obviously I was a little bit careless with my stick, and unfortunately it cost me, it cost our team.”

Roll call: An unofficial head count included 12 players who participated Friday in an optional skate a day before the Hawks tried to stave off elimination in Game 5.

Those who skated included six players who appeared in Game 4: Toews, Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Brandon Saad, Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger. Others who participated included Daniel Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Brandon Bollig, Sheldon Brookbank, Ben Smith and Ray Emery.

Good cause: The Hawks announced they would donate their portion of the “Split the Pot” raffle proceeds in Game 5 to the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund.

Typically, half of the raffle’s proceeds are awarded to the person with the winning ticket, while half of the proceeds support Blackhawks Charities. For more information on the Oklahoma relief fund, visit www.unitedwayokc.org.

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