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Blackhawks Begin Exhibition Season Against Lightning

Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks back to his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba tonight as the Hawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason game. The Sun-Times says Toews has always been "serious":

Those who coached Toews say his serious demeanor comes from his parents, Bryan Toews and Andree Gilbert. His parents aren't so sure. Bryan and Andree each admit to being "pretty serious" as individuals, but they maintain Toews was naturally competitive and driven to do well at everything he did, not just hockey. He took everything seriously.

"In kindergarten on one occasion they were drawing and he ... was pretty good at it," Bryan said. "The teacher said there was a lot of chaos going on in the class. [But] Jon was just focused on what he wanted to draw. He could shut everything else off around him."

"Whatever he was doing, he could just concentrate," Andree said. "He tried to become good at everything."

That seriousness has translated into Toews becoming one of the best players in the NHL at age 22, and he is looking forward to playing in his hometown:

"It means a lot," Toews said Tuesday at Johnny's IceHouse West. "I haven't been home to play in a real hockey game in a long time. I think fans back home are excited to watch some NHL hockey ... and I think [the fans] are really excited to see the Blackhawks with a couple of Winnipeggers out there on the ice."

The match will be the seventh NHL preseason game in Winnipeg and the fourth at the MTS Centre since the Jets packed up their sticks and pucks and headed south.

Here is the Hawks' traveling roster for tonight's game:

goalies Marty Turco, Hannu Toivonen and Corey Crawford; defensemen Duncan Keith, Jassen Cullimore, Jordan Hendry, Brent Seabrook, Nick Boynton, Nick Leddy, Brian Campbell and Brian Connelly, and forwards Patrick Sharp, Kyle Beach, Fernando Pisani, Toews, Jack Skille, Troy Brouwer, Viktor Stahlberg, Igor Makarov, Jeremy Morin, Jake Dowell, Bryan Bickell, Evan Brophey, Rob Klinkhammer, Nick Tarnasky, David Gilbert, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.

The game begins at 7 pm CDT and will be televised on CSN Chicago.