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Hopes high for Toews’ early return to Hawks

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The facts: 7, Ch. 9, 720-AM.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



It was hard to tell at times during the Blackhawks’ practice Saturday that Jonathan Toews was the injured player.

Whether he was practicing breakouts on a line with Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky or chatting with his teammates by the benches, a lot of things looked good for the Hawks captain, who was ruled out for two weeks with an injured right shoulder after a hit by the St. Louis Blues’ Matt D’Agostini on Tuesday night.

It was the first time Toews took the ice since D’Agostini sent him crashing hard into the boards.

‘‘I kind of swung around, and [my] shoulder hit the boards funny,” Toews said. ‘‘It was two guys coming at me. I just tried to protect myself. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, if you’re ready for it or not — you can get hurt. That’s the bad news.’’

The good news is he’s feeling better. There’s still some pain, but Toews said he felt comfortable taking shots and going through drills.

The Hawks missed Toews on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks and possibly are looking at six more games without their best all-around player this season.

‘‘Obviously, it’s not 100 percent,” said Toews, who has 15 goals and 33 points and is a plus-7 in 38 games. ‘‘I’m just pretty happy about where it is right now considering what the normal diagnosis is for this injury. Everyone said it’s around two weeks. If it keeps going at this pace, hopefully it will be quicker than that.’’

Toews won’t play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, but coach Joel Quenneville was encouraged.

‘‘You get a lot of inspiration knowing he’s coming off an injury like that, and he looked like he was one the regulars out there the whole practice,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It’s an encouraging sign for everybody. But let’s make sure he’s ready before we say he’s ready.’’

Toews said he’ll take things day by day as he rehabs his shoulder and works on his range of motion.

‘‘I kind of knew right away what it felt like because I had the same thing [happen] to my other shoulder a long time ago,’’ Toews said. ‘‘I guess having that experience makes it easier to deal with.’’

Toews considered returning for another shift after D’Agostini’s hit.

‘‘I wanted to wait for that opportunity to go out there and try it,” he said. ‘‘But it just didn’t feel right on the bench right after, so we decided to go check it out, and that was probably the end of things right there. It was kind of a frustrating moment.’’

Toews called it “refreshing just to be back on the ice with the boys” Saturday. His teammates know sitting and watching is painful enough for the über-competitive Toews.

‘‘He hates it, that’s for sure,’’ winger Troy Brouwer said. ‘‘He’s frustrated when he’s not able to help his team out. That’s what he wants to do — be out there to help the team.’’

Toews will be along for the Hawks’ two-game ‘‘mother’s trip’’ in California.

‘‘My mom wouldn’t miss [the trip] for the world; it doesn’t matter what happens to me, I guess,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m trying to stay positive and be upbeat. It’s the best way you can try and heal up.’’



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