Blackhawks

Toews skates; Keith respects the NHL's decision

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Toews skates; Keith respects the NHL's decision

Jonathan Toews skated for the fifth consecutive day -- and practiced with teammates for the first time in nearly two weeks -- as the Blackhawks prepared to face the Nashville Predators at the United Center Sunday night.

Toews said he's feeling better with each passing day, and right now feels the way he did right before he suffered a setback about two weeks ago. And while he was looking at his potential return date on that first go-around, he said he's not doing that again this time. Still, he sees himself playing again before season's end.

"I was confident a week in that it wouldnt take much longer. It sucks that its taken this long but I feel this is it," said Toews. "Mentally Im positive and telling myself that well get through this. I'm not going to let the setbacks that have happened weigh me down."

Meanwhile, defenseman Duncan Keith talked about the five-game suspension the NHL handed him for his elbow to Daniel Sedin's head on Wednesday. Keith said he respects the league's decision -- he didn't want to get into details about the call, or Sedin's hit on him prior to his hit -- and will try to use the break as best he can.

"I want to keep sharp, want to keep in game shape. Ill do that," he said. "(I'll try to) get as much rest, eat properly, get lots of sleep and be working out with Paul (Goodman) and hopefully I can try to use it as my advantage, somehow."

Regarding Keith's hit, Toews said, "Youve seen the history between these two teams, how things are going both ways in that game. Again, you dont go into a situation like that intentionally trying to hurt the guy, knowing concussions and head injuries have become a big problem. But the reality is, those things happen when youre playing with an edge. Guys arent going to say theyre trying to hurt someone but when youre trying to hit someone really hard, especially against a team you have a history with like Vancouver, youre not going to let up. Unfortunately Duncs may have gone a little overboard there. It's a tough suspension, we all feel for him, but it is what it is and it happens."

Steve Montador (concussion) said he's been cleared for contact but there's still no set time for his return. Marcus Kruger (upper body) practiced with the Blackhawks on Saturday but is out for tomorrow night's game.

Corey Crawford will start against the Predators.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Nick Schmaltz returning to the Blackhawks line-up on Wednesday night and which player is looking forward most to his return?

They also weigh in on Corey Crawford’s incredible start to the season and why he’s the major reason why the Hawks begin the week in first place in the Central.

They also discuss who is the biggest Hawks rivalry right now, which new defenseman has impressed the most and how is Connor Murphy dealing with being a healthy scratch at times this season?

Plus, they discuss someone other than Nick Schmaltz returning to work on Wednesday night.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Eddie Olczyk expected to return to the booth this week

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USA TODAY

Eddie Olczyk expected to return to the booth this week

Eddie Olczyk will return to the broadcast booth for Wednesday's Blackhawks-Blues game, according to USA Today's Kevin Allen

The news comes six weeks after the Chicago legend began chemotherapy for colon cancer. And although he made a brief, emotional return on Oct. 7 -- putting on the headset to join Pat Foley for a moment during intermission -- he will provide color commentary for the entire game on Wednesday. He'll call the rivalry matchup alongside Doc Emrick on NBCSN. 

Olczyk, who grew up in Palos Heights and attended Brother Rice, will take the mic again the following night as the Blackhawks welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the United Center. As for the rest of the season, he plans to work when his health allows. 

“We have some dates that we have highlighted and hopefully I will be strong to do the job,” Olczyk told USA Today. “If I am not feeling good, I just have to be honest with everyone and tell them I can’t do it.”

It'll be nice to see Edzo back at work, providing dynamite analysis and passing along tips to all those young hockey players out there.