Toews made it official on Thursday morning, saying he will play in Game 1 of the Chicago Blackhawks first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes. Toews missed the final two regular-season games as he was still suffering some effects of his concussion during on-ice workouts. He hoped that, with the extra days between regular-seasons end and the postseasons start, he could be ready for Game 1.
Now he is.
Ive kind of stuck with the program all well and I feel comfortable playing, he said. Its time to go and Im excited about it.
Its been a long and arduous two months for Toews, who missed the final 22 regular-season games with his concussion. Toews thought he was ready to go after missing about two weeks, but suffered a setback. Then he wanted to get those two final regular-season games in but wasnt quite 100 percent.
Ive never gone through anything like this in my career, being touch and go for two months, Toews said. But the last couple of weeks have been really good. To feel ready and well enough to play a game, Im really happy about that.
So are the Blackhawks, who will have him centering Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa on the top line. If nothing else its an experiment worth trying, as the Blackhawks dont want to make drastic changes to what have been pretty successful line combinations lately. If Toews gets his legs under him quickly and Kane adjusts to left wing quickly the Blackhawks could be onto something.
Regardless, the Blackhawks are starting the playoffs just about as healthy as they could be.
Emotionally, for our team, its good to have him back, coach Joel Quenneville said. The bigger the game, the bigger the challenge and (Toews) rises to all occasions. The last week hes felt better. The last couple games couldve gotten consideration if they were meaningful. But it was good that he had extra days and we could target today, and hes ready to go.