SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jonathan Toews missed today’s scrimmage with a lower-body injury, but coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks captain was just held out for “precautionary” reasons.
Toews practiced with Team A as the Blackhawks began their second day of training camp at the University of Notre Dame. But when the scrimmage began around 10:30 a.m. ET, Toews was not on the bench.
“I think it was bugging him before, but he went through everything yesterday and today,” said Quenneville, who added that Toews went through the pre-training camp testing just fine, too. “It’s not bad, but let’s be smart about it.”
Quenneville said they’ll see how Toews is tomorrow. If the Blackhawks need to hold Toews out a few more days for precautionary reasons, Quenneville said, they will.
“It’s not serious,” Quenneville said. “We’ll just see how he is tomorrow.”
Brandon Pirri took Toews’ spot between Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane in the first scrimmage. Pirri, who’s hoping to make the Blackhawks’ roster out of training camp, was surprised when Toews wasn’t on the bench.
“I was sitting on the bench, the ref was waiting for the faceoff and there were only four guys out there. Johnny didn’t come out, and it was, ‘Pirri, go out there,’” said Pirri, who enjoyed playing with Bickell and Kane. “They’re two talented guys. You just have to give a guy like Kaner the puck and get open. And Bicks creates room for everyone.”
Saad switch potential
Andrew Shaw knows about getting switched to center with the Blackhawks, as he became the team’s third-line center to start last season. Brandon Saad may be doing the same, except at second-line center. And while Shaw did have experience at center and Saad does not, Shaw said his teammate has the ability to fit in there.
“He just has to compete,” Shaw said of Saad. “He’s got that drive to want to be better, to want to play more. He’s doing great with it. He looked great today; he had that speed in the middle of the ice and had the puck a lot. He’ll push himself.”
So ... he's OK
Marian Hossa wanted to see how he’d do with a little contact in the scrimmages. While there wasn’t a ton of physicality in Friday’s outings (his Team B played two consecutive scrimmages), Hossa looked just fine. The right wing scored two goals and assisted on another.
“He didn’t look too bad,” Quenneville said with a grin. “I haven’t heard any complaints. It wasn’t that physical, but no complaints.”
Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival did not participate in today’s scrimmage, as Quenneville said they wouldn’t. Both are practicing, but Rozsival, Quenneville said, is closer to taking contact than Handzus at this time. But Quenneville said both will be ready to start the season.