Jonathan Toews returned to the ice on Thursday after missing practice on Tuesday because he was ruled "unfit" to participate. He elaborated afterwards, saying his absence "really came down to maintenance" and it was "nothing serious."
But the Blackhawks captain was also asked about a report that surfaced last week, which didn't pick up attention in the Chicago market until Wednesday.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the Blackhawks were one of two teams — along with the Carolina Hurricanes — that voted against the NHL's Return to Play plan and CBA extension during the NHL Players' Association Executive Board vote.
Toews, to be clear, is the Blackhawks' representative, and according to the NHLPA's website, "these representatives manage the interests of their teammates." Jordan Martinook is listed as Carolina's representative.
Toews disputed the report on Thursday and provided an explanation:
"I don’t know where he got that from," Toews said. "I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know how much I want to get into my reasons why, but I wasn’t one of the guys who voted no. I voted yes. If anything, I kind of wanted the guys in our room to educate themselves on what was going on, to the best of their ability and ultimately make their own decision.
"But deep down, I wanted guys to really think about voting yes. That’s where I stood. So I don’t know where that came from and maybe who gave him the impression that I voted no."
Now, it's important to note, the NHLPA Executive Board vote and league-wide player vote were two separate categories. It's possible the Blackhawks, represented by Toews, were one of the two teams that voted no, but Toews himself voted yes during the full membership vote.
Or maybe, if he was one of the players who voted no, Toews is being a good soldier by addressing this report without making waves because the reality is, it doesn't matter anymore. A decision has already been made and there's no reason — this goes for any player — to be up in arms about it at this point because every individual was given the right to opt out for no penalty if they didn't feel comfortable with returning to play.
Toews didn't want to dive anymore into it than he already has. The Blackhawks leave for Edmonton this weekend and the focus is on preparing for a postseason run.
"There’s no perfect scenario right now," Toews said. "Am I happy that we’re returning to play? Am I happy the NHL and players agreed, even though the agreement and the details of everything are imperfect? You can stress out about it until the cows come home, but I’m happy that both sides were able to come to a place where we could agree to take that step forward toward eventually resuming what we all assume is somewhat of a normal life.
"I think for our fans in Chicago, they’re excited to watch Hawks on TV and I think it can provide some form of relief and inspiration and feeling of comfort. So I am happy that hockey’s going to be going again shortly. So yeah, I mean, we can all squabble about the details, the bubble, not all of that I agree with, but it’s neither here nor there. Like I said, it’s pretty much impossible to come up with a perfect scenario right now, but I’m glad we’re all on the same page and playoff hockey’s on its way."