Minus Toews, Hawks counting on Morrison

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
1:40
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- It was one shock after another Tuesday morning at the United Center when Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk were declared out for the Chicago Blackhawks game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

Toews was the lone Hawk not on the ice for practice, but it wasn’t cause for concern until coach Joel Quenneville announced to the media the Hawks captain would miss the game due to an upper body injury. He is day-to-day.

[+] EnlargeBrendan Morrison
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesBrendan Morrison lined up between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp during Tuesday's practice.
Toews has missed several practices lately but mostly due to a busy schedule and a lingering hand injury he suffered before the All-Star break. Quenneville was quick to point out this issue was something unrelated to that injury, but until Toews is back on the ice it’s always a cause for concern. The good news is Toews finished the game on Sunday and didn’t leave the ice with an apparent serious injury.

Toews' absence means Brendan Morrison will go from a healthy scratch to the top line if Tuesday morning’s practice is any indication. Morrison lined up between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, taking Toews' normal spot.

“I think puck possession is something that plays into his strengths,” Quenneville said of Morrison. “He’s progressed in games. Looking for a strong start from him.”

Morrison has been underwhelming since coming over in a trade with Calgary during the All-Star break. If he can’t keep up with the quicker Kane and Sharp look for Dave Bolland and Morrison to switch roles.

John Scott indicated he could play defense for Tuesday’s game which means Michael Frolik might suit up on the fourth line. Scott has played forward over the past four games.

Hammer skates: Niklas Hjalmarsson practiced with the Hawks for the first time since the first week of January. He’s missed six games with an illness turned upper body injury.

“I was a little nauseous there in San Jose,” Hjalmarsson said Tuesday after practice. “Just wanted to go home and not risk anything to the guys on the team. Starting to feel better now. It’s been frustrating watching the guys play.”

Hjalmarsson will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday evening and says he’s not 100 percent yet. He wouldn’t confirm he had a head injury or was suffering from concussion like symptoms.

“It’s amazing how fast you lose everything and how long it takes to get it back,” Hjalmarsson said. “I really need to work on my conditioning and puck handling.”

Slappers
•Tuesday night’s game starts at 7 p.m.
Steve Montador remains on injured reserve with an upper body injury and has not practiced or played in six games.
•Dave Bolland has launched a charity foundation, The Dave Bolland Foundation, which is dedicated to helping marginalized and at-risk youth, will focus on three projects: Chicago’s Beyond the Ball, Toronto’s The Remix Project, and International disability charity Easter Seals. The goal is to raise awareness and funds in order to assist community programming through education and mentorship initiatives in sports and the arts.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26