If you were looking for a little bit of good news after the Chicago Blackhawks were embarrassed on Sunday night against the Nashville Predators, then you got it at practice on Monday.
Jonathan Toews skated for the seventh consecutive day, as he attempts to work his way back from a concussion that has caused him to sit out since February 19th.
Toews won’t return on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, since he has yet to be cleared for contact. But it’s definitely encouraging that he’s managed to increase the intensity of his workouts almost daily since he started skating consistently with the team a week ago.
During the month of March, the Blackhawks have managed to at least disguise their dire need for Toews in the lineup, having lost just two games in regulation for the month, and another in a shootout. But a team with Patrick Kane centering the top line isn’t set to go very far in the postseason.
The fact that Marcus Kruger was also out for the last pair of games, with concussion symptoms, didn’t help matters at all. This is a team with very, very limited depth in the middle and it was incredibly obvious against the Preds on Sunday.
It hasn’t been an easy road back for Toews, who has already suffered one setback in his attempted return. But the fact that he’s been able to skate for over a week, and has increased the intensity certainly bodes well for his return in the near future. The Hawks obviously want him to take his time and make sure he’s completely healthy before he steps on the ice, especially since he’s already played with concussion symptoms prior to sitting out.
Assuming the Hawks stay healthy, Toews’ return should be to a completely healthy Hawks lineup, with Kruger set to play in New Jersey and Steve Montador potentially making his return against the Devils after being cleared for contact.
It’s encouraging to hear that the captain is nearing his return, and it should be a tremendous boost to the lineup when he does step out on the ice for game action.