Kane, Toews, Keith sign lucrative extensions

CHICAGO — Looking to the future, the surging Chicago Blackhawks signed three of their top players — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — to lucrative contract extensions Thursday.

CHICAGO — Looking to the future, the surging Chicago Blackhawks signed three of their top players — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — to lucrative contract extensions Thursday.

Kane and Toews, both 21, signed five-year deals reported to be worth US$31.5 million each. Keith, a defenceman, got a 13-year contract worth a reported $72 million, making it the richest in team history and surpassing the 12-year, $62.8 million given to Marian Hossa in the off-season.

“We are a close group of guys and there’s no individual player who is bigger than the team,” Keith said.

“I would certainly rather have these two guys up here at the same time, as well, and take a little of the spotlight off. I don’t mind that at all.”

The 26-year-old Keith is in his fifth season with the Blackhawks and is known for his durability and speed.

He leads the team in average ice time at 26:44 and has five goals and 18 assists to go with a plus-nine rating.

Kane, the first pick overall in the 2007 draft, leads the team with 26 points — nine goals and 17 assists. And Toews, the team captain and the Blackhawks’ first-round choice (third overall) in 2006, has six goals and 10 assists. He missed six games this season with concussion-like symptoms after taking a hard hit from Vancouver’s Willie Mitchell on Oct. 21.

Asked how much pressure the new deals would bring, Kane acknowledged there would be some but it wouldn’t affect play.

“You don’t think about that stuff when you are on the ice. You are trying to play for the love of the game and for your team,” he said. “Obviously there is pressure, but with that comes responsibility. We know we have to pick it up.”

Kane and Toews not only are two stars on the ice, but they are the young faces of the organization and the focus of the team’s massive marketing campaign. Chicago made it to the Western Conference finals last season and currently leads the Central Division with a 17-6-3 record.

“To me it’s not about the business side and all of that stuff. I’m just happy to know that I’ll be part of the organization for a while longer and hopefully much longer after that,” Toews said.

General manager Stan Bowman said the lucrative contracts would not affect the salary cap situation this season because the deals kick in for 2010-11.

But he acknowledged that Chicago could have a busy summer perhaps juggling its roster and payroll after committing so much money to the future.

“There will be changes between this year and next year but there are every year,” Bowman said.

He said the deals have been in the works for a while and that the team consulted with the NHL to make sure all three contracts conformed to regulations.

Just Posted

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Fog advisory in effect for Red Deer, central Alberta

Heavy fog is affecting visibility for central Alberta drivers Saturday morning. A… Continue reading

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

Eckville man facing about 80 child sexual exploitation charges in court

More than half a million photos and videos found on electronic devices

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Montreal priest stabbed during mass leaves hospital; suspect to be charged

MONTREAL — A Catholic priest who was stabbed as he was celebrating… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $35.7 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $35.7 million jackpot… Continue reading

New report details impact of proposed NS spaceport in event of explosion or fire

HALIFAX — The head of a company proposing to open Canada’s only… Continue reading

Quebec man convicted in Mafia-linked conspiracy deported to Italy

MONTREAL — Michele Torre, a Quebec man convicted in 1996 for his… Continue reading

Republican Karl Rove says conservatives need more than simplistic slogans

OTTAWA — Legendary Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove, known for his no-holds-barred… Continue reading

B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people… Continue reading

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Most Read