Toews out Sunday vs. Kings

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Toews out Sunday vs. Kings

Jonathan Toews felt good after his third consecutive day of skating, but the captain, who is coming back from a concussion, has not been cleared for contact.

Toews practiced with the Blackhawks at Johnny's Ice House on Saturday afternoon and took another step toward getting back into the lineup. But while Toews would love to be back Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, he said it's tough to pinpoint a date -- especially since he has yet to be cleared for contact.

"I always think the next game will be the time," said Toews, who is out for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Kings. "Id love to be in on Tuesday but I need to focus on this afternoon, worry about those little things right now. It's just one step at a time and hopefully itll be sooner than later at this point."

Toews said he has had no setbacks these past three days, which is encouraging. He said he'll truly know where he is when he's allowed to take contact.

"Thats the real way of knowing, I think, is when you turn around the corner and youve got a guy on you, youre spinning around and a guy hits you. Those things move you really fast," he said. "When youre doing full drills, skating around the ice, you get your heart rate up eventually and you can kind of match that where the symptoms go away. But (contact) will be the real test, so well see when the time is for that."

Meanwhile, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said he felt "great" after coming back last night against the New York Rangers.

Jamal Mayers and Dave Bolland did not practice today but coach Joel Quenneville said both were just off. Michael Frolik returned to practice after missing the past two days with an illness.

Ray Emery will start tomorrow against the Kings.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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