Toews 'day-by-day', Crawford in goal vs. Ducks

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Toews 'day-by-day', Crawford in goal vs. Ducks

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
Posted: 12:31 p.m. Updated: 1:40 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

For Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, the past few days have felt like forever.

Toews was dying to get back on the ice after sustaining a right-shoulder injury against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. So with healthy legs and the shoulder feeling better, Toews gave it a go on Saturday morning.

The go went well.

Toews practiced at Johnnys Ice House West on Saturday, a few hours before he, his Blackhawks teammates and players and coaches moms headed to Los Angeles for their two-game road trip. While he wont play Sunday in Anaheim, Toews return Saturday was nevertheless an encouraging sign that he could be back soon.

Its not 100 percent, but Im pretty happy where it is right now, considering the normal diagnosis for this injury is around two weeks, said an upbeat Toews, who was passing and taking a shot or two in practice but did not skate on a forward line. Its been getting better every day so thats obviously a good sign. If it keeps going at this pace, hopefully itll be quicker than that.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Toews practice was positive and encouraging, and it probably didnt hurt team spirit to see him out there again this quickly.

Certainly, your captain, you get a lot of inspiration knowing hes coming off an injury like that and he looked like he was one of the regulars out there at practice, he said. Its an encouraging sign for everybody, but lets make sure hes ready before we say hes ready.

Toews said he knew exactly what happened as soon as he sustained the injury because hed suffered it in his left shoulder years ago. He was spinning away, trying to brace himself for an incoming check when his shoulder hit the boards. Right now, hes just icing it and trying to get the range of motion back.

I just want to make sure it heals properly right now, he said. Ill take it day by day. Im just trying to stay positive and be upbeat. Thats the best way to heal up as quickly as I can.

Pisani, Crawford better

Forward Fernando Pisani, whos missed two games with the flu, practiced on Saturday and is expected to play Sunday in Anaheim. Pisani, who was on the right wing with Ryan Johnson and Dave Bolland on Saturday, said he lost six pounds from the illness.

He had looked good and had a three-game points streak before he got sick.

Its always frustrating when you have to leave the lineup, he said. Its one of those things you cant control and Im just working my way to get back into it again.

Goaltender Corey Crawford, meanwhile, said he feels normal again and will start against Anaheim on Sunday. Crawford had been practicing since Dec. 26 but had been struggling to regain his energy from the flu he had during the holidays.

I was getting tired really easy but Im 100 percent now, he said. My timing was really good today and thats the most important thing for me to have timing, be patient, be big and after that react. I feel really good today.

Briefly

Jordan Hendry was back on defense Saturday after playing a few games at forward recently, and he could be there Sunday vs. Anaheim.

He hasnt played in a while on the back end, Quenneville said. He has the ability to jump in a game and not missing a beat. His quickness and anticipation is something we can use. Were looking forward to getting him back on the back end.

Welcome aboard

The Blackhawks have signed defenseman Dylan Olsen to a three-year, two-way contract, the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune reported. Olsen is a former first-round pick for the Blackhawks.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.