Update: Jonathan Toews will play against Canucks

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Earlier tonight, we discussed the fact that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp practiced with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. At the same time, it wasn’t yet clear if Toews’ All-Star Game sabbatical would be enough to heal him up for what should be a deliciously exciting game against the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow.

CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers has an update that justifies the conjecture about resting up for enemies as she reports that Toews will play against Chicago’s bitterest rivals. Sharp’s status remains questionable, however.

“(Monday) was the first tine I touched a puck since the injury but there are all kinds of precautionary things you have to go through,” Sharp said. “I’d like to think (I could play tomorrow). I’m a little rusty but, again, we’ll see how it feels in the morning.”

In the grand scheme of things, Toews received the equivalent of a spring break at the expense of a single regular season contest and another All-Star appearance. Deep down, you have to wonder if the Blackhawks are doing a mini-fist pump at this situation.

(It would have been an even bigger slam dunk if Chicago was victorious, but they instead dropped a game to the Nashville Predators, who topped them in a home-and-home set.)

Deep down, I wonder if other teams are jealous of the fact that big-minutes, high-impact stars like Toews and the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin were able to get these little siestas without the senior citizen pass awarded to Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom. A more devious executive might just want to manufacture a few phantom injuries if both players enjoy clear benefits.

(Ovi raved about his unexpected vacation, for one.)

Bylsma says Crosby isn’t upset with Penguins medical staff


At least one Pittsburgh media member is downright incredulous about the supposed missteps of the Penguins’ medical staff in light of Sidney Crosby’s neck injury, but Dan Bylsma told reporters that Crosby doesn’t share that beef.

“I feel, Sidney feels, he’s gotten every possible support from the Penguins and the Penguins’ medical staff in the situation he’s in, to try to find an answer to where he’s at, what his condition is, what is his best road for recovery,” Bylsma said.

The beginning of that quote (Bylsma feels, Crosby feels) is the juiciest part of the story, if you’re squeezing for juice. The $8.7 million question is if Bylsma is actually in the right position to speak for his star player.

Does Bylsma really know how Crosby feels about this situation or is he just expressing his wishful thoughts? Ultimately, Crosby ranks as the only person who can honestly answer that question and if he’s unhappy, it could be years before we find out – if that ever happens.

Sidney Crosby is skating again, hoping for second return


Sidney Crosby’s absence from the 2012 NHL All-Star Game might seem deafening to some, but he’s not giving up on the 2011-12 campaign altogether.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that Crosby’s been skating “pretty much” all week as he hopes to make a second comeback this season. Custance reports that he did some skating in both Atlanta and Los Angeles as he does a Carmen Sandiego tour of specialists.

Of course, there’s the inevitable caveat: he still doesn’t have a timetable for a return.

No other details were revealed as far as his progress, so we’ll just have to settle for that little nugget for now.

Report: Ovechkin might skip All-Star Game, Toews won’t attend


The 2012 All-Star Game’s list of stars keeps shrinking.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne decided to play the seniority card to sit this one out. Injuries are the most common escape hatch for other players likely to find themselves on the sidelines and more last-minute omissions are rolling in by the day. (TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Jonathan Toews is out, as expected, by the way.)

Alex Ovechkin likes to add new wrinkles to these events, so it only makes sense that he might do something unusual. McKenzie reports that the sting of Ovechkin’s recently announced three-game suspension might prompt him to take that All-Star break vacation, after all.

The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno transcribed McKenzie’s comments:

“The word out of Washington tonight is that at this point Alexander Ovechkin does not want to go to the All-Star weekend as a suspended player,” Bob McKenzie said. “No firm decision’s been made on anything, but all accounts would lead us to believe that there will be some decisions in Washington [Tuesday] with the Capitals, with Ovechkin about this issue. I would bet right now that Alexander Ovechkin’s going to want to withdraw from the NHL All-Star Game.”

For those who worry that Ovechkin might get suspended again for sitting out the game, McKenzie guesses that the NHL wouldn’t stack another one for missing the event. (If he ends up missing it at all, that is.)

Jamie Benn should be ready for All-Star Game

The Dallas Stars won’t benefit from Jamie Benn’s presence on Tuesday, but ESPN Dallas’ Mark Stepneski reports that he should be able to take part in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

It looks like Benn will miss at least five games overall (including tomorrow’s match against the red-hot Anaheim Ducks) after undergoing an appendectomy.

Some might argue that Benn broke out in an abbreviated 2010-11 campaign, but Brad Richards’ departure has allowed him to shine in a heightened role. He earned the All-Star nod based on 42 points in 43 games, but that’s a good news/bad news proposition for the Dallas Stars since his entry-level deal expires after this season.

Stepneski reports that Benn and the Stars have discussed a new contract briefly but will wait until the end of this season to hash out his second contract. If the second half of his 2011-12 is anything like the first one, Benn’s next deal won’t be cheap.