Jonathan Toews held out of Blackhawks’ first scrimmage
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter September 13, 2013 10:25PM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Nashville Predators. 1 St-Period Chicago Blackhawks No.19 Jonathan Toews controls the puck around the net with Phoenix Coyotes No.24 Kyle Chipchura. Saturday April 18, 2013 I Photo by Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:30AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brandon Pirri was sitting on the bench moments before the start of the first scrimmage of Blackhawks training camp Friday when he looked up and saw the referee setting up for the faceoff between Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane.
“We had four guys out there,” Pirri said. “[Coach Ted Dent] kicked me and said, ‘Get out there.’ ”
Yes, even the Hawks were surprised to learn that Jonathan Toews was hurt.
Toews took part in a brief practice Friday morning but was held out of the scrimmage for precautionary reasons with a lower-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said. Quenneville said the injury has been bugging Toews for a while now and that he might stay off the ice for a couple of days.
“It’s not serious, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Quenneville said.
Quenneville said Toews — who practiced in Thursday’s non-contact session — completed his physical testing on Wednesday.
“It’s not bad, but we said, ‘Let’s be smart about it,’ ” Quenneville said.
Kane already had established himself as one of the top stick-handlers in the league with his jaw-dropping shootout moves. But his ridiculously quick hands became an Internet sensation Friday when a Bauer commercial featuring him went viral. The video shows Kane speedily stick-handling his way through an increasing amount of randomly strewn pucks, all without touching any of them with the puck, his stick or his skates.
Kane said the 90-second video took about 15 or 20 minutes to film.
“At first, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it with all the pucks in there,” he said. “But as you get into it, you get competitive, you want to try it out. It was pretty cool. . . . To see the final product was awesome.”
Quenneville said the Hawks likely will lighten the load by making the first round of roster cuts in time for the preseason opener Tuesday against the Red Wings. He also said that most of his top guys will play in three of the six preseason games. With five games in seven days, Quenneville will have plenty of chances to get a look at the guys battling for roster spots (Pirri, Ben Smith , Jeremy Morin , Jimmy Hayes , Drew LeBlanc) as well as the more intriguing prospects (Teuvo Teravainen , Mark McNeill , Phillip Danault).
Quenneville isn’t sure how many players — 21, 22 or 23 — will be on the roster on opening day.
“We haven’t had that discussion yet,” he said. “I think a lot of that is going to be determined by the salary-cap numbers.”
Marian Hossa’s back looked perfectly fine on the first day of camp scrimmages. He had two goals and an assist. Michal Handzus (knee, wrist) and Michal Rozsival (lower body) skated on their own during the scrimmages. Quenneville said Rozsival is closer to being cleared for contact than Handzus, but both will be ready by the season opener Oct. 1 against the Capitals.