Toews to miss ninth straight game, no timetable for return

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Toews to miss ninth straight game, no timetable for return

Jonathan Toews was feeling good after his second straight day on the ice. But the captain, whos recovering from a concussion, knows the competitor in him will just have to wait until hes properly healed.

Toews skated with his Blackhawks teammates on Friday morning, but he said he has no timetable for when he may return. The captain will miss his ninth consecutive game and said hes just concentrating on getting 100 percent again.

I feel pretty good, Toews said. I feel like Ive been off the ice doing nothing for three weeks, but considering the last two days on the ice Im lot better than I thought I would be. Im pretty positive about that.

Coach Joel Quenneville was also encouraged by Toews back-to-back skates but said theres still no definitive timeline.

We said once you get him on the ice it would be a better indication when he could be close to getting back. But its significant progress in a short amount of time, Quenneville said. Lets hope were on the same program for a little while here.

Toews said he couldnt pinpoint what hit or moment specifically triggered his concussion; his last game, Feb. 19 against St. Louis, he played in its entirety. He said he was feeling off the last few games of the teams nine-game road trip but it was one of those things that was so minor at first that it took some time to realize it was something more serious.

When it comes down to that, you hate to admit it to yourself, he said. You see so many guys around the league dealing with it and you dont want to be one of those guys. I had to rest and get better.

To make matters worse Toews had a one-car accident on Feb. 23 downtown. Asked if that exacerbated his concussion, Toews said, not at all.

A lot of people want to tie that in there with this injury but when it rains it pours. I had a rough week and throw that in there with it, he said. Its one of those embarrassing things I didnt want to get out of my car for a long time.

Toews said hell take as long as he needs to reach 100 percent again. Hell see how he feels with everything, from when he gets up in the morning to how he reacts to workouts and skating. And hell have to pass the tests, too.

Concussions have become a big NHL concern in recent years. The Blackhawks have had their share of it lately from Toews to Niklas Hjalmarsson to Steve Montador. And everyone reacts different: Hjalmarsson returns tonight against the New York Rangers; Montador skated some last week but is not this week, and may have taken a step back in his recovery.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has struggled for more than a year to come back from his. Toews said hes texted with Crosby the two have the same agent but doesnt put himself in the same category right now.

Were not at that point where Im worried Im not going to make a recovery in the next little while, Toews said. It hasnt crossed my mind to start thinking about the next step and what we might have to do to make sure it heals properly.

Toews competitive side has struggled through this down time. But the thought of coming back too soon keeps him focused.

I think youd still be serious about it if it was the first time for any player. But since its not for myself, the level of urgency goes up a little bit, he said. It takes a lot of discipline to do that right now since its exciting to be back on the ice and you want to start playing right away. Ill make sure Im 100 percent when I come back and Im reducing the risk of it ever happening again.

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Jonathan Toews was named the NHL's second star for the week ending Feb. 26 after recording four goals and five assists in three games, all of which resulted in Blackhawks wins.

The 28-year-old captain kicked off the week with a hat trick and five-point effort in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, then followed that up with two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. 

He wrapped up the week by scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to extend his point streak to six games. He has five goals and eight assists during that span.

Toews now ranks third on the team with 46 points and is tied for fifth with 16 goals.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (eight goals and two assists in four games) and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (two goals and six assists in four games) were named the first and third stars, respectively.


In midst of career season, Artem Anisimov still not satisfied with overall game

In midst of career season, Artem Anisimov still not satisfied with overall game

In terms of points this season, Artem Anisimov is closing in on some career numbers.

His goal against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night was his 22nd of the season, tying a career best set with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013-14. One more point and he'll equal his career best (44) in that department from 2010-11, when he was with the New York Rangers.

And all of this is with 20 games remaining in the regular season. So is this Anisimov's best career regular season?

"Ah, no," Anisimov said recently. "Close to it, but not good enough."

Anisimov would list a few things he still needs to improve upon – we'll get to that later – but even "close," Anisimov has had another strong season for the Blackhawks, once again centering Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. It's easy to focus on those two wings, given their dazzling play-making ability. But every line needs at least one blue-collar guy, the one who does more of the dirty work and perhaps takes the punishment in front of the net.

For the second consecutive season, that second-line guy is Anisimov, and his net-front play, especially, has led to more production this season.

"Arty's a smart player. He knows getting there, there [are] rewards for being around the net," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He finds his positioning. Sometimes he gets there at the right time and his arrival times are due to his anticipation with his wingers. [It's] the willingness; there's some abuse you have to take over the course of a regular season and it doesn't distract Arty from getting there."

Anisimov's game-winner against the Blues came the way so many others have this season: around the net. This one was off a slick pass from Panarin. Be it scoring goals like that, limiting a goaltender's vision or cleaning up rebounds, Anisimov's net-front presence has been steady. 

"He's coming up with pucks, gets those loose pucks to Kaner and Bread Man and they do their thing and create some magic there. Or you have Arty in front and you have Kaner and Bread doing their thing back and forth across the zone and you have that big body in front," Ryan Hartman said. "It makes it difficult, and not just when one of them are shooting. Sometimes the goalie can't see the pass because Arty's there and it's really deceptive and a big part of our team."

So the production has been there, no doubt. But where does Anisimov feel he's lacking?

"I just need to improve in all aspects: skating, back check, forecheck, stick position," Anisimov said. "All the little things have to be a little bit better."

Most players are never satisfied with where their games are. They're always looking to improve. Anisimov will keep working on what he thinks are some deficiencies but his constant net-front presence has filled what used to be an issue for the Blackhawks.