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Thursday, April 5, 2012
O'Donnell takes Olsen's spot on Thursday

By Jesse Rogers

ST. PAUL -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews practiced with his team Thursday morning but was unavailable to the media afterwards. He won't play in Thursday night's game against the Wild but coach Joel Quenneville said not to worry.

"It's all part of the process," Quenneville stated. "I know we keep saying the same things here. I don't think anything has changed. He's progressing but we want to make sure he's ready."

At least Quenneville acknowledged the staleness of the story. And he wouldn't commit to anything in regards to Toews playing in Saturday's regular season finale in Detroit. Friday's practice in Motown will help determine that.

If Toews isn't able to play in a single game before the playoffs there might be some legitimate concern about him, but then again Dave Bolland missed the final six weeks of last season, plus the first three postseason games, and came back stronger than ever.

But this story will have a question mark next to it until Toews is back for good.

Other Walking Wounded

Quenneville re-iterated center Dave Bolland's upper body injury isn't serious. He won't play Thursday as well.

"He's progressing," Quenneville said. "He'll be fine but we'll see for Saturday, not sure."

Winger Andrew Brunette is said to be ok as well but won't play against the Wild while defenseman Sami Lepisto will sit out his 13th game with a leg injury though Quenneville said there is a "good chance he'll play Saturday."

The Lineup

Defenseman Sean O'Donnell takes Dylan Olsen's place on the blue line Thursday more than likely to get him some minutes so the Hawks can feel comfortable going with either the rookie Olsen or the veteran O'Donnell once the postseason begins. Olsen has played in 26 straight games.

Little used center Brendan Morrison will take Bolland's place on the third line Thursday night.

"Trying to find your game here heading into the playoffs," Morrison said. "Try to do all the little thing right as a teammate and as a team."

And Brunette will be replaced by Jimmy Hayes on the Hawks' top line. He'll skate with Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.

"You have to make sure you're always ready for the puck because you never know when they're going to give it to you," Hayes said. "It's one of those games you have to be plugged in."

Quenneville chose Hayes over Michael Frolik to play with Hossa and Kane. Frolik hasn't scored a goal since December 14 in St. Paul and has been in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch -- as has Hayes. Frolik will start with Jamal Mayers and Brandon Bollig on the fourth line. Corey Crawford is in goal.

If the Hawks lose in regulation they'll be the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference no matter what happens in the final two days of the regular season.