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Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, Steve Montador just skating and waiting

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty goalie Jonathan Quick can't stop goal credited Marcus Kruger tie score one each second period as

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick can't stop a goal credited to Marcus Kruger to tie the score at one each in the second period as the Chicago Blackhawks host the L.A. Kings Sunday March 11, 2012 at the United Center. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times photo

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Updated: April 13, 2012 10:34AM



Center Jonathan Toews is getting closer to returning to the Blackhawks’ lineup, but exactly when remains in question.

Toews, who missed his 10th consecutive game Sunday with a concussion, previously said he was hoping to be back Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. But the Hawks’ captain acknowledged that would depend on him continuing to progress in his recovery.

‘‘I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent,’’ said Toews, who participated in the morning skate Sunday but hasn’t been cleared for contact. ‘‘Obviously, if I was, I think I’d be ready to push myself right to the limit to get back into the lineup, and [this injury is] about being smart and not rushing that.’’

The news regarding defenseman Steve Montador, who also has a concussion, is even less certain. Montador practiced with the team for the first time since Feb. 7 but wouldn’t put a timetable on his return and hit out at the speculation about the injury that’s kept him out 16 games.

‘‘I haven’t said what [the injury] is, so there’s a lot of assumptions being made,’’ Montador said. ‘‘Personally, I’ve had this type of injury before. But I’m not confirming what it is.’’

Montador suffered a setback in his recovery last week when he stopped skating for a period. But he said Sunday the overall trend has been good for him.

‘‘It’s hard to just sit back and watch,’’ he said. ‘‘When you feel like you’re getting ready and you’re getting on the ice and then you take some time off, there’s some psychological and emotional kind of turbulence that goes with it, and certainly it was a challenge.’’

Equipment check

Veteran defenseman Sean O’Donnell would like there to be some discussion at the general managers meeting, which begins Monday in Boca Raton, Fla., about downsizing the equipment players wear in an effort to reduce head injuries.

The 17-year pro specifically wants to see the GMs crack down on football-style shoulder and elbow pads that allow players to take runs at their opponents without any physical price.

‘‘It used to hurt to throw a body check,’’ O’Donnell said. ‘‘Right now, guys are so well-protected, I don’t want to say they’re a weapon, but there are so many good hitters that skate right through the guy because they know it doesn’t hurt.

‘‘I’m not saying it’ll get rid of concussions, but anything we can do to help. We might have some more elbow and shoulder injuries, but I’d take that over a couple of head injuries.’’

Scott’s other side

Defenseman Nick Leddy said he didn’t get to talk much with good friend John Scott during Friday’s visit by the New York Rangers, Scott’s new team. But he definitely heard his former teammate during the game.

‘‘I was going by his bench, and there was a guy right on me, and [Scott was] screaming, ‘Hit ’em! Hit ’em!’ I could tell it was him. It was funny.’’

Sami still out

Defenseman Sami Lepisto (left leg) remains out indefinitely. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t elaborate on his status other than to say his injury would not require surgery.



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