Toews returns as Blackhawks battle Kings

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Toews returns as Blackhawks battle Kings

Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
Posted: 1:04 p.m. Updated: 1:42 p.m.By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Tonight's game can be seen on Versus starting at 8:00 p.m.
LOS ANGELES Jonathan Toews started to feel better the day after his sustained his right shoulder injury in St. Louis. Now, six days later, hes ready to play again.

Toews will start tonight when the Blackhawks play the Los Angeles Kings. The captain said this morning that hes not rushing back at all and has been happy with his healing since Tuesday.

From the first day until today, we saw progress every day, Toews said. Theres always that side of things that you want to push it to get back as fast as you can but I can honestly say that I dont feel like theres any risk coming back tonight. It feels really good. I hit the ice a couple times and I dont think I lost much. Hopefully Ill pick up where I left off.

His return not only gives the team a healthy lineup again, but it could also provide the boost during this three-game losing streak.

Its one of those big pieces youre missing in the lineup, said right wing Marian Hossa. Hes a leader so its a huge confidence boost when you get a player like that in the lineup. Everyones looking forward to having the captain back. But we cant expect him to win the game by himself. Everybody has to be better.

One area where Toews helps the Blackhawks immediately is in the faceoff circle. The team has struggled there and will welcome back his winning percentage of 59.6 is fifth best in the NHL.

Obviously hes good on faceoffs, and play all starts with winning the faceoff, getting the puck instead of us losing the draw and chasing right off the bat, defenseman Duncan Keith said. Obviously hes great at controlling the puck, so its great to have him back in the lineup.

Toews didnt foresee his injury hampering his faceoffs.

Most of that is mentality, he said. If you can find a way to forget about it, it shouldnt be a big deal. Itll be about being prepared tonight and hopefully getting off to a good start for faceoffs. We didnt do that well last night so as a team we want to do better tonight.

Corey Crawford will get his second consecutive start tonight in goal.

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

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

Is the White Sox clubhouse big enough for two Dan Hayeses?

We're about to find out this spring training as CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes covers the team, which includes first base prospect Danny Hayes.

The Sox prospect Hayes battled .250 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 55 games for Charlotte last season.

The big-league hopeful and White Sox beat reporter spoke with CSN's Chuck Garfien about the similarities the two (don't) have.

No word yet on whether they'll battle the two Rougned Odors and Geovani/Geovany Sotos to an Anchoman-style duel.

Check it all out in the hilarious video above.

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

The NHL implemented the bye week for the first time this season in an effort to give teams a five-day break before the stretch run of the regular season.

Entering Saturday's game, teams were 3-10-3 coming out of those games with many of those losses coming in convincing fashion.

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Blackhawks weren't one of those teams. They appeared to be reenergized more than rusty, and it showed in the opening 20 minutes of the game when they fired off 30 shot attempts (12 on goal) compared to the Oilers' 10 (four on goal).

But early in the second period, momentum shifted after Ryan Hartman came to the defense of teammate Tanner Kero, who was leveled by Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba in the neutral zone.

Hartman skated over to Gryba and dropped the gloves near the goal line, afterwards getting tagged with a two-minute penalty for instigating, five minutes for fighting and another 10 for a misconduct.

"It's kind of a no-brainer for me," Hartman said of sticking up for Kero. "I tried waiting long enough so it wasn't an instigator but it's kind of a judgment call I guess, some refs call it different ways. Unfortunately it ended up in a power play for them, but it's something you've got to do."

Hartman said he and the official had a discussion about the instigator penalty for clarity, which was handed to him due to the distance traveled after the hit.

Hartman said after the game that he respects the decision, but teammates and coaches didn't necessarily agree with the call.

"Thought they both had an agreement," Jonathan Toews said of the fight. "It looked like they were both going to go at it. Don’t think Hartsy jumped him by any means. But I guess just because there’s a previous hit immediately before that, then he got the instigator there."

Said Joel Quenneville: "I don't necessarily know that he was going to start the fight. I think he went over there to talk to the guy, so you lose Hartsy there."

And it proved to be the turning point.

Less than two minutes later, the Oilers capitalized on the power play after Matt Benning's shot ricocheted off Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk's skate and into the net, putting Edmonton out in front first.

They wouldn't look back, hanging on to beat the Blackhawks 3-1, and getting revenge on a team that beat them last week 5-1 in their first game out of the bye.

While it may not have been an opportune time to do it, the Blackhawks appreciate Hartman's game and know more times than not, his energy will result in a positive outcome.

"We haven’t seen a lot of fights this year so, no matter what, it always gets us going, especially in our own building," Toews said. "I think the fans love that sort of thing, too, and Hartsy’s been going after guys who are a lot bigger than him this year. We love that fearless play and definitely helps our guys feed off it."

"Hartsy's a competitive guy," Quenneville said. "We like him to have that a little bit of abrasiveness and unpredictably so there's nothing wrong with that. We like the way he competes and what he brings us."