With a 4-1-1 record in their last six games, the Chicago Blackhawks probably aren’t quite panicking about Jonathan Toews’ absence anymore. Still, there’s no doubt that they’ve missed their versatile captain for the last 11 games, so GM Stan Bowman presents a good news/bad news proposition.
Craig Custance reports that Bowman believes that Toews won’t play against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, but he hasn’t ruled out a possible return against the Stars in Dallas on Friday or a home game versus the Washington Capitals on Sunday. At worst, Bowman stated that Toews is expected to be back within next week.
(Whether that means he’ll be back on March 20 against the Blue Jackets, March 21 against the Vancouver Canucks or even March 25 against the Nashville Predators remains to be seen … and is always subject to further change.)
With the Central Division crown just about guaranteed to be a jump ball between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, the Blackhawks ultimate target is probably a sixth seed, to be honest. That actually could be a pretty-much-ideal scenario at least considering the situation at hand, as that would limit the urge to rush Toews back too soon, give him time to get acclimated without feeling too much pressure and give Chicago a workable first round matchup against a likely flawed Pacific Division winner.
That’s not too awful an outlook, but most importantly, they need a healthy Toews to have a real shot in the playoffs. It sounds like we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if they’ll get that same guy back.