Toews 'progressing' but will miss game vs. Stars


Toews 'progressing' but will miss game vs. Stars

Jonathan Toews is getting better, according to his coach. But the Blackhawks captain will still be out of the lineup on Thursday night.

Toews is progressing from an upper-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said on Wednesday, but he is out nevertheless against the Dallas Stars tomorrow. It will be the second consecutive game without Toews, whose injury, according to Quenneville, is not the wrist that sidelined him briefly right before the All-Star break. Toews did play the entire game against St. Louis on Sunday.

As for what Toews injury is, the Blackhawks arent giving many details. Asked if Toews had a concussion, Quenneville said its upper body, and thats what were looking at. Quenneville said Toews is still day to day and is hopeful that the captain can be back or at least skating by this weekend.

The Blackhawks banded together for their 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Detroit Red Wings, who were missing their top center Pavel Datsyuk (out 2-3 weeks after knee surgery). But given his work in so many on-ice categories, if Toews is out for any amount of time its going to be a concern.

When you dont have Johnny in the lineup its a concern; the minutes, the importance and the leadership, Quenneville said. Its always important when your top players arent there. Were hopeful hes going to be back quick.

Meanwhile, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson continues to feel better and could play tomorrow against the Stars. Steve Montador, however, has made no progress.

Corey Crawford will get his fifth consecutive start tomorrow.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

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3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.