Frustrated Toews is hoping to return to ‘Hawks lineup soon

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Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has missed nine straight games because of an upper-body injury and his level of frustration is starting to mount.

Toews, who hasn’t played since Nov. 23, says he’s always felt like he’s been close to returning to the Blackhawks lineup, but never close enough.

“The frustrating thing is you keep getting asked the question and you feel like the next game is going to be the game you’re getting back and there’s only so many times you can keep giving yourself and others bad news,” said Toews, per CSN Chicago.

On a positive note, the ‘Hawks captain managed to take part in the team’s morning skate on Sunday and there’s a chance that he could play in the upcoming road trip.

“It’s certainly good to get him on the ice,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “We feel he can be close but we want to make sure there’s some certainty that he’s going to be fine and we’re not going to go backward on this one. So let’s make sure we’re all clear going forward.”

The three-game road trip will see Chicago travel to play the Rangers on Tuesday, the Islanders on Thursday and the Blues on Saturday night.

The Blackhawks have held their own without Toews. They’ve gone 5-2-2 without him, which makes it easier for them to be patient while he recovers.

Related: Patrick Kane: Others have to ‘step up’ with Toews out of Blackhawks lineup