Keith back; Toews, Bolland, Brunette out


Keith back; Toews, Bolland, Brunette out

ST. PAUL, Minn. Duncan Keith will be back in the lineup tonight but the Blackhawks will be without Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland and Andrew Brunette when they play the Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center.

Toews was skating once again today but coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday that the captain was out for this game. Quenneville reiterated that the Blackhawks captain is not out tonight due to setback or any problems; Toews status for Saturday is still up in the air.

Its all part of the process, he said. I know we keep saying the same things here, but I dont think anythings changed. We want to make sure hes ready. You know when youre where you need to be. We have some time here, so well see.

Toews was not available for comment today. In recent days hes said he wants to be very careful about his return so that he doesnt have to suffer through something like this again.

It feels like Im a little bit closer to being in the picture again, and its better than nothing, Toews said about taking this last road trip with the Blackhawks. Hopefully that means Ill be playing soon.

Meanwhile, Bolland is out with an upper-body injury and Brunette is out with a foot injury. Both are considered short-term injuries.

Keith returns after completing his five-game suspension on Sunday night.

It means a lot to your team as far as what he brings, the quality and quantity of ice he gives us, Quenneville said of Keith. He plays in all situations and (plays) important minutes and brings a lot to our back end, our team and puck-possession game.

Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks while Josh Harding starts for the Wild.

Malik McDowell announces he's leaving Spartans for NFL Draft


Malik McDowell announces he's leaving Spartans for NFL Draft

Back in August, Malik McDowell said he wouldn't depart Michigan State for the NFL Draft unless he was going to be a top-three pick.

Well, either the junior defensive lineman has some really good information or he's taking a less absolutist stance because he announced Tuesday on Twitter that he's leaving the Spartans for the pros.

"I'm excited to announce that after careful consideration and numerous discussions with my family and coaches, I have decided to forego my remaining college eligibility at Michigan State University and enter the 2017 NFL Draft," McDowell posted in a Twitter message. "This was a very difficult decision, and I will always cherish my time in East Lansing. I want to thank my family, coaches, teachers, administrators and teammates. I'm ready to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in the NFL. I promised my parents that I would come back to Michigan State University to finish my college education and get my degree."

McDowell played in only nine games during the Spartans' disastrous 3-9 campaign, recording 34 total tackles, leading the team with seven tackles for loss and posting 1.5 sacks.

McDowell was a high-profile recruit out of Detroit and played in all 13 games as a freshman for Michigan State during the 2013 season. As a sophomore, McDowell had 41 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss and four sacks, plus two forced fumbles and an interception. He earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors as the Spartans won a Big Ten championship.

A quick sampling of mock drafts across the Internet indicates McDowell is generally expected to be a first-round pick. Those NFL Draft sites vary, placing him anywhere from the top 10 to the end of the first round.

Remember what McDowell said in August:

"Top 10 ain't good enough for me," McDowell said, his comments published by the Detroit Free Press. "I ain't leaving if I'm (only) top 10. If I'm not top three, I don't leave. Really. I'm just trying to live day by day. It's one through three, that's the only way I'm going. I'm happy, I like it here, I ain't really in a rush to leave.

"The teammates I have the on-field stuff we do, the off-field stuff we do. Just good people around me. I can't complain."

Well, as we saw with the results for the Spartans this season — they started off 2-0 then lost eight straight games, plummeting from a College Football Playoff participant a year ago to failing to reach a bowl — things can change in a hurry.

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