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Do Kane and Toews want to be part of Hawks' rebuild?


After winning three Stanley Cups and clinching a playoff berth for nine consecutive seasons, the Blackhawks have taken a step back in recent years and have been in a retooling phase. It hasn't exactly led to success because of the inconsistency of the direction on a year to year basis.

Kyle Davidson was named the permanent general manager for the Blackhawks on Tuesday, and the most noteworthy item that came from the introductory press conference is that he plans on rebuilding the roster, which will likely take a few years. It's a move that should have happened a while ago, and Davidson said it's important for the organization not to deviate from that plan, no matter how long it takes.

That presents an uncomfortable question: What's going to happen with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, two franchise icons? Davidson addressed that from his perspective on Tuesday.

"Jonathan and Patrick are two extremely important pieces to the organization," Davidson said. "They're definitely going to be brought into the loop. I've had a brief conversation with both of them this morning about some of the sentiments of today's announcement and what I would be talking about. That’s going to be an ongoing discussion between myself and the players. I’ll tell you for sure that there won’t be any surprises on their end in terms of what we plan on doing with the organization."

It's one thing for the Blackhawks to keep Kane and Toews in the loop on where the organization is headed. But it's another to get a sense on whether the two of them actually want to be around for a rebuild.

Kane and Toews are both 33 years of age whose contracts are set to expire at the end of next season. They're loyal to the city of Chicago, but they're also competitors and these last few years have no doubt been difficult on the two of them.

On Wednesday, Kane met with the media to share his thoughts on the upcoming rebuild.

"As a player, you’re always trying to be in the moment," Kane said. "I think when you’re playing the game you’re not thinking about, well, this is going to take three years or five years or whatever it is. You’re always thinking about winning that game or helping the team win that game. That’s really something you don’t think about as players.

"Whatever the lineup is, whatever the team looks like, you’re going to go on the ice and try to win. That’s something I think as players you don’t worry about too much."

Kane might not be worrying about it in the current moment, but there will come a day where he has to decide whether he wants to stick around for what could be a multiple-year rebuild. It's weird to think about, because he's one of those players that you can't imagine wearing another sweater.

But anybody that knows Kane and has been around him is aware he's as competitive as they come. He wants to win, and he prefers to do it here. While he would love to finish his career in Chicago, there's no guarantee that will happen. 

"Yeah, I think so," Kane said when asked whether the goal is to finish his career with the Blackhawks. "There's probably a lot of time to determine what's going to happen in that regard, but I mean, let's be honest. I love Chicago, I love the city, I love the fans, the organization's been amazing to me and my family, so there's really not much to [not] like here.

"But I think there's always business decisions. I know in the game of hockey there's not many guys that have played their whole career with one team, so it would be a privilege and an honor to do that, but I guess we'll see how it all plays out."

Davidson doubled down on his intention to keep his two stars in the know during a roundtable discussion with the media after practice on Wednesday, and it sounded like he'd like to keep them around as long as both of them are open to it.

"Anytime you can have someone of Patrick's caliber and experience in your organization then that's something that's very valuable," Davidson said. "Again, we're going to have very honest conversations going forward and he'll know what we're thinking; I'm sure we'll know what he's thinking and we'll go from there. But having those people around is always a good thing."

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