Considering their spot atop the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t hit the wall like many pundits predicted they would … at least, yet.
Some might wonder if the cracks are forming with a two-game losing streak and, with Jonathan Toews‘ upper-body injury in mind, how vulnerable this group could be to injuries to top players.
Toews is considered day-to-day and questionable for Friday’s game at Anaheim (and one would assume, also in doubt for at least Saturday’s contest in Los Angeles).
Take a gander at what Chicago’s lines looked like without Toews on Thursday, via CSN Chicago’s Tracy Myers:
Ryan Hartman – Vince Hinostroza – Marian Hossa (Or “Triple-H” as Myers masterfully notes)
Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen – Marcus Kruger – Jordin Tootoo
Tyler Motte – Nick Schmaltz – Richard Panik
Yes, you could probably place the Kane line as the actual top line – not that it really matters when you’re just listing them – but either way, you can understand the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus describing Toews as the Blackhawks’ most “irreplaceable player” whether you quibble or not.
Toews was skating most often with Hinostroza and Hossa before getting hurt on Wednesday, tying the room together like a Lebowski rug.
It’s worth noting that “Captain Serious” isn’t outright ruled out of tomorrow’s game against the Ducks, even if it seems logical that he’d at least miss one of a back-to-back set against two California teams that can be punishing at times. His potential absence brings up interesting questions nonetheless.
The good and the bad
From one perspective, the initial reaction is to wonder if issues are starting to surface. The Blackhawks aren’t the possession demon they once were, so you wonder if winter is merely coming for Chicago.
On the other hand, the “Circus Trip” will conclude on Saturday. After that, they’ll play six of their next seven at home and just four away games in 14 games from Nov. 29 – Dec. 27.
Overall, then, it seems like Toews’ injury situation in general: we still need to wait and see what happens.