Thursday, March 8, 2012
Jonathan Toews resumes skating
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who has missed eight games with a reported concussion, skated Thursday for the first time since leaving the lineup and is progressing, coach Joel Quenneville said.
"He had a good skate today," Quenneville said. "He felt good. It's very exciting for us to see him back out here."
Toews skated on his own before practice began and indicated to Quenneville he was feeling all right afterward.
"(He) felt good," Quenneville said. "That's part of it as well. Big first step seeing him out here. We'll see how he's progressing."
The Blackhawks have gone 4-4 without Toews in the lineup. He'll miss his ninth straight game on Friday when Chicago hosts the New York Rangers.
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who is also out with a reported concussion, is "hopeful" to play Friday after missing 13 of the past 14 games.
"It's tough. This is the first time in the last couple years here I've been out for a long period of time," Hjalmarsson said. "It's real painful to just be able to practice and not play. Hopefully I'll be out there tomorrow (Friday)."
Hjalmarsson has been practicing for about a week to get back in game shape. He said Toews should expect the same.
"It's a step in the right direction for sure," Hjalmarsson said of Toews resuming skating. "It's a good thing for him to be out on the ice again. ... It's pretty amazing how that works. How long it takes to get in shape and how fast it goes away. It takes a while to get back in good shape."
Quenneville said there is no timetable for Toews' return.
In other injury news, Sami Lepisto is out "indefinitely" after suffering a left leg injury in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Jamal Mayers also missed practice Thursday but is scheduled to play Friday, as Quenneville called his absence a maintenance day.
Ray Emery is expected to start in goal against the Rangers.