Toews 'progressing' but will miss game vs. Stars

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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.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.