The Chicago Blackhawks hit the practice ice on Thursday for the first time since knocking off the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon, but they did so without one of their key players in the fold as captain Jonathan Toews missed the skate.
When asked after practice why Toews had been absent, head coach Joel Quenneville said that his top-line center was “under the weather,” but emphasized that he will be ready for Friday’s game when the Hawks host the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their second round playoff series.
Having Toews off the ice was a bit of a scare for Hawks fans, as Toews has done a great job during the playoffs so far. In six postseason games, Toews has three goals and four assists, and all three of his goals proved to be game-winners as the Hawks knocked off the Blues. Toews scored the overtime winner in the team’s Game 5 victory in St. Louis, and his early third period goal in Sunday’s Game 6 ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back as the Hawks rolled through a four-goal frame.
Joakim Nordstrom skated in place of Toews at the practice, while Kris Versteeg rejoined the lineup after being scratched for Game 6 of the Blues series. Jeremy Morin and Peter Regin both remain out as reserve players, but if Versteeg and Brandon Bollig continue to see diminishing ice time, there is a possibility that Quenneville could insert one of them into the lineup.