Blackhawks

Toews to miss ninth straight game, no timetable for return

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Toews to miss ninth straight game, no timetable for return

Jonathan Toews was feeling good after his second straight day on the ice. But the captain, whos recovering from a concussion, knows the competitor in him will just have to wait until hes properly healed.

Toews skated with his Blackhawks teammates on Friday morning, but he said he has no timetable for when he may return. The captain will miss his ninth consecutive game and said hes just concentrating on getting 100 percent again.

I feel pretty good, Toews said. I feel like Ive been off the ice doing nothing for three weeks, but considering the last two days on the ice Im lot better than I thought I would be. Im pretty positive about that.

Coach Joel Quenneville was also encouraged by Toews back-to-back skates but said theres still no definitive timeline.

We said once you get him on the ice it would be a better indication when he could be close to getting back. But its significant progress in a short amount of time, Quenneville said. Lets hope were on the same program for a little while here.

Toews said he couldnt pinpoint what hit or moment specifically triggered his concussion; his last game, Feb. 19 against St. Louis, he played in its entirety. He said he was feeling off the last few games of the teams nine-game road trip but it was one of those things that was so minor at first that it took some time to realize it was something more serious.

When it comes down to that, you hate to admit it to yourself, he said. You see so many guys around the league dealing with it and you dont want to be one of those guys. I had to rest and get better.

To make matters worse Toews had a one-car accident on Feb. 23 downtown. Asked if that exacerbated his concussion, Toews said, not at all.

A lot of people want to tie that in there with this injury but when it rains it pours. I had a rough week and throw that in there with it, he said. Its one of those embarrassing things I didnt want to get out of my car for a long time.

Toews said hell take as long as he needs to reach 100 percent again. Hell see how he feels with everything, from when he gets up in the morning to how he reacts to workouts and skating. And hell have to pass the tests, too.

Concussions have become a big NHL concern in recent years. The Blackhawks have had their share of it lately from Toews to Niklas Hjalmarsson to Steve Montador. And everyone reacts different: Hjalmarsson returns tonight against the New York Rangers; Montador skated some last week but is not this week, and may have taken a step back in his recovery.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has struggled for more than a year to come back from his. Toews said hes texted with Crosby the two have the same agent but doesnt put himself in the same category right now.

Were not at that point where Im worried Im not going to make a recovery in the next little while, Toews said. It hasnt crossed my mind to start thinking about the next step and what we might have to do to make sure it heals properly.

Toews competitive side has struggled through this down time. But the thought of coming back too soon keeps him focused.

I think youd still be serious about it if it was the first time for any player. But since its not for myself, the level of urgency goes up a little bit, he said. It takes a lot of discipline to do that right now since its exciting to be back on the ice and you want to start playing right away. Ill make sure Im 100 percent when I come back and Im reducing the risk of it ever happening again.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”