Before loss to Blues, Toews says he might take road trip with Blackhawks

When Jonathan Toews made an unexpected appearance at morning skate Tuesday, many of us figured he was still quite a ways from being able to return to game action.

Maybe he plays in one or two of the final home games.

That was the consensus among us scribes.

But when asked if he might join the Blackhawks on a three-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Calgary, Toews told the Daily Herald, “It’s possible.”

Now, if even if Toews travels, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’d play. There are still hurdles to leap.

But normally when an NHL veteran goes on a trip, there’s at least a good chance he’ll end up in the lineup at some point. After playing Tuesday at Calgary, the Hawks are at Vancouver on April 6 and at Seattle on April 8.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, it’s important to see how Toews responds to Friday’s full practice. After Thursday’s morning skate, coach Luke Richardson noted Toews was “in great spirits” and wanted to slide right back into the game-day routine.

“I think he was chomping at the bit to start his normal drill, and J.J. (Khaira) took his spot,” Richardson said before the Hawks dropped a 5-3 decision to the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. “So he was slapping the puck around a little mad about that. So he’s becoming his old self again.”



Toews also spent a few moments giving power-play pointers to Lukas Reichel.

If Toews is going to retire after the season, it would be terrific if he could play one or two more times in his native country. One has to imagine the press boxes — not to mention the stands — would be overflowing.

The Hawks could use his presence on the ice as well. Although these games are essentially meaningless, up-and-comers like Reichel can use as much tutelage as possible.

“He’s always open when you need help,” Reichel said. “He’s teaching you that and giving you tips and advice. He talks in a way where at the end it really makes sense and makes you better.”

The Hawks have been struggling to score of late, and it was no difference against the Blues.

The lack of offense should come as no surprise, of course. After all, the Hawks are trotting out a lineup that features only four double-digit goal scorers — Taylor Raddysh with 20, Andreas Athanasiou with 15, and Seth Jones and Tyler Johnson with 10. Not only that, but nine of their 18 starters against the Blues had fewer than 150 games of NHL experience. Three — Reichel and defensemen Alex Vlasic and Wyatt Kaiser — have 30 or less.



Thursday’s game was an utter snoozefest in the early going with neither team managing a shot on goal for more than seven minutes.

The offenses woke up in the second period, though, with the Blues taking a 3-1 lead.

The Hawks fought back with a power-play goal by Johnson at 0:31 of the third period, fell behind by 2 again on Joran Kyrou’s tally at 9:25 and made it 4-3 when Boris Katchouk scored at 10:01.

Reichel nearly tied it late, but his one-timer hit the post after deflecting off Justin Faulk. Brandon Saad then iced the Blues’ victory with an empty-netter with 1:13 remaining.

The Hawks (24-45-6) have just 10 goals during a losing streak that’s now reached seven games. This was the first time they managed more than 2 in a game since beating Boston 6-3 on March 14.

The Blues have won six of seven and are now 35-34-6 overall.


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