Jonathan Toews practices with team

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews practiced with his teammates Friday for the first time since a Feb. 19 game against St. Louis, and said he's feeling better after dealing with concussion-like symptoms for the past three weeks.

"The last two days on the ice, I feel a lot better than I thought I would be," he said. "Pretty positive about that."

Toews doesn't know exactly when he got hurt, but admits to playing through the symptoms.

"You come out of a game and feel those (concussion) symptoms, I guess," Toews said. "You don't want to admit to yourself what it might be and you kind of keep going so it's not clear when it might have happened. The toughest thing was coming to grips with it and saying it's something I had to deal with and couldn't keep playing with."

Toews has missed the past eight games and will miss Friday's contest against the New York Rangers. There's no timetable for his return. The next step is taking contact.

"It was so minor at first it took some time to realize it might be something more serious," he said. "You see so many guys around the league dealing with it, you don't want to be one of those guys."

Toews exchanged text messages recently with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who has been sidelined by concussion-like symptoms since early December. The two employ the same agent.

Toews also was involved in a minor one-car accident Feb. 23 in Chicago. He says he was concerned with oncoming traffic and didn't see the "obstacle" in front of him.

"Lot of people want to tie that in there with this injury," Toews said. "As they say, when it rains it pours. Was kind of a tough week."

Toews says the crash did not exacerbate his symptoms, and he was so embarrassed when it happened that he didn't want to get out of his car.