When Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane each returned to the Chicago lineup, it felt like it was high time the Blackhawks got on a roll having their top players all back together. Of course, things never are as easy as they’re made out to be and after Chicago’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis last night, a loss that saw Jonathan Toews leave the game early with an injury, Chicago will have to make do without him for the next two weeks.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said that Toews will miss the next two weeks with an injured shoulder and for Chicago, losing Toews will really test the mettle of the team. Toews is, by far, the top centerman on the team and really the only guy capable of leading the top line. Patrick Sharp has taken some time at center, but what Sharp brings skill-wise is still good, there’s an intangible quality that Toews brings to the ice.
Chicago’s gotten used to being without important players in the lineup this year and this is just another instance of that. Playing without Hossa a couple times this year and, until recently, without Patrick Kane has given some of Chicago’s depth players some opportunities to step up. Now the pressure is on centers like Dave Bolland to elevate their game.