Blackhawks

Toews' recovery continues to progress

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Toews' recovery continues to progress

Every day Jonathan Toews pushes himself a little more on the ice. And every day, Toews feels hes getting that much closer to returning.

Toews skatedpracticed for the seventh consecutive day on Monday, as the Blackhawks captain continues to feel his concussion symptoms diminish. Still, Toews said he has a bit to go.

As you can tell Im still a ways off from game shape, he said. Obviously theres always going to be some adjustments in that first game I play, whenever that may be. Ill try to get as close as I can to where theres not much adjustment.

But the continued progress in skates and practices is encouraging.

Every day Im pushing myself a little bit harder. The harder I do go the better I feel. It gives me confidence knowing theres not much I can do to make it worse right now. Every day seems to be a step forward, which is a good thing.

Thats also a good thing for the Blackhawks, who are starting to see health come back to their lineup Steve Montador could return Tuesday and Marcus Kruger will play against the New Jersey Devils.

In watching and talking to (Toews), theres progress there, coach Joel Quenneville said. He feels better about where hes going, he adds more each day, he feels stronger and his attitudes been good. Well have a better idea (how close he is) when hes inserted into some contact.

Its been tough for Toews to be patient through this, to wait to get back into the lineup. But he feels hes close to taking full contact, and then playing wont be far behind.

You want to get back in there and help them out as much as you can and when you start to feel like youre getting over the hump, its tough to keep that emotion under control, Toews said. (But) Im feeling pretty close to (contact). The last few days Ive been feeling good.

The thought process behind overloading one line for Blackhawks

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The thought process behind overloading one line for Blackhawks

Depth scoring is key in today's NHL. If you can't roll four lines, it will eventually catch up to you over the course of an 82-games season and, if you get there, in the playoffs, where it will certainly be exposed.

But equally important in today's NHL is having one dependable line that can be a difference-maker on a nightly basis. We're seeing it more and more across the league where teams overload one line as a "try and stop us" mentality and it's working.

Colorado's top line of Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen leads all trios with 19 even-strength goals this season. Three other lines are tied for second with 16 (Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson in Columbus, Skinner-Eichel-Pominville in Buffalo and Hyman-Tavares-Marner in Toronto).

Boston’s trio of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak has controlled a ridiculous 60.1 percent of the even-strength shot attempts over the last three seasons and has a plus-20 goal differential, according to corsica.hockey. Over that same span, Nashville’s first line of Forsberg-Johansen-Arvidsson has an NHL-leading plus-29 goal differential.

All of these teams are seeing the benefits both in the short-term and long-term as it’s translating to overall team success. Rather than playing pick your poison, the Blackhawks are trying to do the same in putting Saad-Toews-Kane together (along with DeBrincat-Anisimov-Schmaltz), hoping to spark some steady offensive production.

"If we play them together, they've got to produce," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "But sometimes when you spread them out, no one produces. By loading them up, it puts some pressure on them, but hopefully they play so well that it doesn't matter who has the puck. They're making plays, they break through anyways, no matter who they're playing against. That's what we ask of them, and so far they're coming through for us."

Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals. Jonathan Toews is second with 10. Brandon Saad has six (three in his past five games). In putting them on a line together, the goal for them is to continue scoring at a high rate, but doing so on a more consistent basis.

“We’re definitely hurting for offense right now, and that’s from top to bottom, the production has gone down,” Kane said. “You take it upon yourself as a player that’s supposed to score and produce, be able to do that every night. It would be nice to be able to do that more often.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks relying too much on Corey Crawford?

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks relying too much on Corey Crawford?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Adam Burish joins Pat Boyle to breakdown the Hawks’ recent four-game points streak, Corey Crawford's second star of the week honors and Brandon Saad’s best stretch of hockey since he returned to Chicago.

Burish talks about the criticism that Nick Schmaltz receives, the tweaks to the power play and whether he is impressed with how the team leaders have handled the coaching change.

Burish also shares his thoughts on Joel Quenneville attending Sunday night’s Bears game, Eddie Olczyk’s "One More Shift" and shares a couple off-ice stories about Patrick Kane.

:36 - What have you seen over this four-game points streak?

2:35 - Crow is second star of the week, are the Hawks relying too much on Crawford?

4:00 - Crow: no soft goals and rebound control

5:30 - Problems exiting zone cleanly

8:00 - Art of the hoister

9:40 - Best Saad has looked?

10:45 - Schmaltz inconsistencies

12:30 - New wrinkles on Power Play

16:30 - Sikura call up?

18:00 - Leaders handling coaching change

22:00 - What Q’s been up to

25:00 - Burish Beauty

26:00 - Edzo's One More Shift and Hockey Fight’s Cancer Night

28:30 - Kane’s 21st Birthday and off-ice 88 story

Listen to the full Hawks Talk Podcast right here: