Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews resumes skating, might return to practice soon

Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson saw captain Jonathan Toews before the game against the Canucks on Sunday at the United Center and confirmed Toews has resumed skating.

”He was out with the guys and [Saturday], as well,” Richardson said. ”[And] on and off when we were on the road trip. Today he seemed good and felt good. Hopefully that can progress into joining the team.”

Toews, who hasn’t played since Jan. 28 because of symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome, it’s a race against time to play again this season. The Hawks have nine games final, and Richardson said there’s no timeline for Toews to return to practice. He indicated it might be soon, however.

”To me, this has been the best kind of scenario that I’ve seen since he came back,” Richardson said. ”He’s feeling better, and hopefully that translates to getting on the ice with the [full] team. Unfortunately, we don’t practice [Monday] or later in the week, so it might be more to the end of the week, but we’ll see. Maybe he even gets out for morning skates.”

Richardson said Toews also seemed to be in a good mood. That might have been helped by seeing former teammates such as Andrew Shawwho took part in a legends game earlier Sunday.

”Real good mindset right now,” Richardson said. ”Hopefully that can translate and get to practice. . . at some point.”

Man in the middle?

wing Luke Reichel also can be used at center, though the Hawks aren’t planning on slotting him up there in the lineup. Still, plans can change with injuries, which might force Reichel into the middle.

Richardson criticized veterans Andreas Athanasiou for his work at the center and said he plays well with Reichel.

”Keeping [Reichel] out of the middle might be good,” Richardson said. “I thought the other night [the Capitals’ Tom] Wilson just missed him or let up on him a couple of times, I felt. So just him getting awareness of the league and who’s in the league, that might be a little safer spot up and down the wall.”

Even at wing, Reichel was in the middle of the action against the Canucks. He scored the Hawks’ second goal, had five shots and consistently drove hard to the net.

”He’s going to be a massive piece of this team in the future,” defenseman Seth Jones said. ”You see glimpses, just like tonight, of the speed he can create and the offense he creates with the puck.”

Missing Tinordy

The Hawks played most of the second and third periods without a defenseman Jarred Tinordy, whose final shift came 3:30 into the second. Richardson said Tinordi is dealing with a recurring hip injury and might miss some time.

”He brings energy [and] physicality for us,” Jones said.

this and that

Wyatt Kaiser was scratched in favor of fellow defenseman Andreas Englund. Richardson said Englund played to ”get some fresh legs” in the lineup.

• Forwards Buddy Robinsonwho has skated in seven games with the Hawks, was assigned to Rockford. Anders Bjork played in Robinson’s spot.

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