Toews' recovery continues to progress

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Toews' recovery continues to progress

Every day Jonathan Toews pushes himself a little more on the ice. And every day, Toews feels hes getting that much closer to returning.

Toews skatedpracticed for the seventh consecutive day on Monday, as the Blackhawks captain continues to feel his concussion symptoms diminish. Still, Toews said he has a bit to go.

As you can tell Im still a ways off from game shape, he said. Obviously theres always going to be some adjustments in that first game I play, whenever that may be. Ill try to get as close as I can to where theres not much adjustment.

But the continued progress in skates and practices is encouraging.

Every day Im pushing myself a little bit harder. The harder I do go the better I feel. It gives me confidence knowing theres not much I can do to make it worse right now. Every day seems to be a step forward, which is a good thing.

Thats also a good thing for the Blackhawks, who are starting to see health come back to their lineup Steve Montador could return Tuesday and Marcus Kruger will play against the New Jersey Devils.

In watching and talking to (Toews), theres progress there, coach Joel Quenneville said. He feels better about where hes going, he adds more each day, he feels stronger and his attitudes been good. Well have a better idea (how close he is) when hes inserted into some contact.

Its been tough for Toews to be patient through this, to wait to get back into the lineup. But he feels hes close to taking full contact, and then playing wont be far behind.

You want to get back in there and help them out as much as you can and when you start to feel like youre getting over the hump, its tough to keep that emotion under control, Toews said. (But) Im feeling pretty close to (contact). The last few days Ive been feeling good.

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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.