The Blackhawks came out today and said that Jonathan Toews will miss at least 2 more games. The ‘Hawks play tomorrow afternoon in Detroit, and Tuesday night in St. Louis. Detroit and St. Louis currently have the 2 best home records in the NHL. Even with Toews in the lineup, these would be 2 extremely tough games to win. Toews has missed the last 6 games now due to what the Blackhawks are calling an “upper body injury.” Some people believe that he suffered a concussion in San Jose during their 9-game road trip. Others are saying that he has a shoulder injury. Regardless of what the injury may be, the Blackhawks need their captain back for the stretch run.
Prior to this injury, Jonathan Toews’ name was being mentioned in MVP talks. That’s how good of a season he was having and how important he is to the Blackhawks. Toews played in every one of the 9 straight losses that the ‘Hawks suffered beginning in late January. Because of the fact that this team was able to lose 9 straight games with him in the lineup gives me no confidence that they will be able to lock up a playoff spot with him out of the lineup. The ‘Hawks are currently on a 2-game win streak after beating Toronto at home on Wednesday and winning in Ottawa on Friday (Coach Q was calling this their biggest win of the year). Because of this short winning streak, some fans are jumping to the conclusion that the Blackhawks will be fine without Toews heading into the home stretch of the season. Those fans couldn’t be any further from the truth! Jonathan Toews still leads the ‘Hawks with 29 goals on the season, even since missing the last 6 games. Also, he is still second on the team in points. He was first before getting hurt. You cannot tell me that this team will be “fine” without him heading into the last 16 games of the year.
From here on out, the Blackhawks have possibly the toughest remaining schedule in hockey with 2 games against Detroit, 3 with St. Louis, 2 with Nashville, and the rest with teams such as Vancouver and New York (the Rangers). So while this could easily be their toughest stretch of the year, not to mention the fact that they have yet to give themselves a comfortable cushion in the standings, they will be playing possibly a handful of these remaining games without their captain and best player. The Blackhawks desperately need Jonathan Toews back in the lineup, regardless of the fact that they have won 2 games in a row.