Blackhawks

Duncan Keith nearing return to Blackhawks lineup

Duncan Keith nearing return to Blackhawks lineup

The Blackhawks have been hit by the injury bug this season, but they'll be getting a major boost on defense soon.

After skating on his own for the past few days, Duncan Keith returned to practice on Monday for the first time since suffering a groin injury on Nov. 29 against the Colorado Avalanche. He's hopeful to return on Wednesday, but the team is taking it day by day.

"I'm feeling good," Keith said. "It's weird sitting out like that and forced to watch but been rehabbing and feeling good and better and better every day."

Keith said he had been dealing with the groin injury on the right side for about a month before it worsened on the left side in the game against Colorado. His last shift came at the midway mark of the second period on a breakaway goal from Valeri Nichushkin, but the tweak came on his previous shift.

"It had been sore and the shift before that I felt a pop and I thought maybe I could play because I'd been playing through on the right side for a while," Keith said. "It's kind of weird, I've never had groin problems in my career but sometimes mechanically when you've had a few injuries, if you don't keep up on balancing things out in your body you can develop those compensations and I think that's what happened, so I've been working hard to straighten those things out and hopefully it stays better now.

"On that play I thought maybe I could give it a try and then that guy Nichushkin blew out of the gate there and I couldn't do anything, I couldn't move."

Keith has been out of the lineup for the past nine games and the Blackhawks are 3-5-1 over that span. They've certainly missed his presence and Keith admitted it was difficult watching his teammates go through those struggles and not being able to do anything about it.

His return, whenever that may be, will bring some stability to a Blackhawks blue line that hasn't had it recently with Calvin de Haan out.

"It's tough," Keith said. "You definitely get a different perspective watching. It's always easier when you're watching, but it's tough. You're going on the road and we were playing in some tough buildings there in Vegas, and Arizona's playing well, and obviously St. Louis isn't an easy building to play in. It's a close game. But they did a good job on the mom's trip. It's just try to get that consistency going here and just build off last night."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

toronto_w.png
USA Today

Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

Tuesday afternoon Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the city would cancel all major city-wide events until June 30. For baseball fans hoping to start their season and basketball and hockey fans hoping to get back into the swing of theirs, the news makes it hard to envision live sports returning before July. 

What does this mean for the NHL? Well, technically the ban is for city-wide events such as parades, events, festivals, and other cultural programs, excluding the NHL. 

However, professional sports will have to contend with the province of Ontario, which banned gatherings of more than five earlier this month. 

The NHL recently reached out to arenas asking for their availability in July and August. 

The idea of finishing out the 2020 season in summer is becoming more and more likely as governments continue to grapple with the severity of COVID-19. There have been speculations about what this new schedule will look like for the NHL, including a shortened 2020-21 preseason and eliminating by-weeks and All-Star weekend. This will present its own unique challenges, including arenas in warmer climates struggling to maintain ice quality for summer games. But if more major cities follow Toronto’s lead, all we know for certain is that a return to normalcy may be longer than anticipated. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since the NHL was paused on march 12.

Toews, along with defensemen Roman Josi (Nashville Predators) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) represented the Central Division on a video conference call held by the NHL.

The trio answered a variety of questions, including which teammates you'd most and least want to be quarantined with.

"I guess I'll start with the most. I'd probably say Corey Crawford," Toews answered. "He's just kind of an easy going guy. Whatever you want to do, he's down for whatever."

And for who he'd least like to be quarantined with? You could probably guess.

"And I'd say least, since I roomed with him for so long, I'd have to say Kaner (Patrick Kane). There's some ups and downs through that relationship there."

The three players were also asked what they missed the least about playing one another. Pietrangelo and Josi had interesting responses on Toews.

"Jonny's just a pain in the a** to play against. Oops, pardon my language," Pietrangelo responded. "I battled a lot with these two guys (Toews and Josi). More so Jonny because he's a forward, but we've had a lot of battles. 

"But, you know what, God, I’d welcome those battles. I think right now we miss those battles. I don’t know about you guys, but we could use a few of those battles."

"Like [Pietrangelo] said, I obviously see a lot more of Jonny, as a forward, but I mean just chasing him around in our zone, for I don't know how long, and can't take the puck away from him, trying to cross-check him," Josi answered. "Just him around the net it's not fun as a defenseman, you can't really get the puck off him. We had some really good battles against Chicago, some really good playoff series. We all miss it."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.