Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
1:18 p.m. Updated 2:33 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
The Chicago Blackhawks have already dealt with several key injuries this season. Now theyre going to have to move forward without their captain for the next two weeks.
Jonathan Toews will be out two weeks with what looked to be a right shoulder injury, coach Joel Quenneville said on Wednesday morning. Toews was hurt he was checked near the boards by St. Louis forward Matt DAgostini in the Blackhawks 3-1 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks play seven games in the next two weeks.
Its a situation thats become all too familiar for the Blackhawks, who had their full roster again for all of 13 minutes on Tuesday before Toews was hurt. And for the most part, the Blackhawks handled their recent injury situation (minus Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane) well. They went 6-3-1 the 10 games Hossa was gone, and Kane was out for eight of those.
Nevertheless, losing Toews and everything he brings is difficult.
No matter who (is out) you have to do it, Quenneville said. Weve lost some key guys and weve got some pretty big games in a recent stretch here at home. Its up to us to find ways. Weve got a lot of guys who absorb quality time and take leadership responsibilities. Certainly Johnnys a big piece and a key guy.
Toews impact speaks for itself. On the ice hes averaging 20:30 of ice time per game, tops among Blackhawks forwards. Hes key in every situation, be it full strength or on special teams, and is always a set-up or scoring threat.
You look at the makeup of your lines, special teams, theres ice time there and whos going to take that up. You dont want to change too much, Quenneville said. Our (power play) without Kane and Hossa was pretty good. The (penalty kill) is something we have to get better at anyway. Its an opportunity to find our way to get through it. Jonnys 5 on 5 minutes are valuable as well. Theres a good opportunity there. A lot of times, being responsible gets the job done.
The Blackhawks also have to disperse leadership responsibilities throughout the room. As John Scott observed after Tuesdays loss, Toews is our captain, our rock out there. Quenneville said another player will be wearing an A tomorrow when the Blackhawks host the San Jose Sharks.
During their latest injury rash, other Blackhawks stepped up. Their checking line supplied offense on top of its usual task. They got goals from players not known specifically for that. The team solidified defensively and played simple team hockey instead of putting the onus on one or two guys to carry the entire load.
The Blackhawks have gotten through this before. Theyll have to do it again.
Everybody deals with injuries and you have to move on. If you cant youre not going to be very successful, said defenseman Brian Campbell, who missed the first month of the season with a sprained MCL. Weve had to do that with other guys throughout the year. You have to keep rolling no matter who is or isnt with you. Thats the sign of a good hockey club: good teams win no matter what happens.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.