Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews, Pierre Thomas among the notables at Blackhawks practice

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Apparently Johnny’s IceHouse was the place to be today.

Most notably, it was the scene of Jonathan Toews’ first on-ice appearance since suffering a concussion. Toews, who has missed the last eight games, skated on his own prior to the Blackhawks practice with coach Joel Quenneville later saying the captain responded well.

“He had a good skate today — he felt good,” Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “It’s exciting for us to see him back out there and he’s encouraged as well. It was a really good day.

“It’s a big first step seeing him out there; we’ll see how he’s progressing.”

‘Hawks practice had another special guest today: New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas. The former University of Illinois standout took some shots on goal, according to the Blackhawks Twitter feed, and kept asking how much money defensemen get per headshot (jokes, jokes.)

Here’s a picture of PT Cruiser at the rink, courtesy the Chicago Tribune:


Thomas will take a shot on goal between periods of Friday’s Hawks-Rangers game at the United Center.


In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.