The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Friday that captain Jonathan Toews is returning to the team for the beginning of training camp.
Jonathan Toews returns to the Chicago Blackhawks for opening day of training camp after missing last season.
CHICAGO (WLS) — Jonathan Toews is back on the ice. He is training with the Chicago Blackhawks, much like he did before missing the whole 2017-18 season due to injury. He’s laughing and joking with his colleagues once again.
The remainder of the questions, such as those regarding opening night and his return to form and fitness, will have to wait for a bit. Toews is just concerned with the now.
And he’s back on the field right now.
“It feels great to be back,” Toews remarked with a smile.
The fresh new appearance The Blackhawks began training camp on Thursday with their captain back on the ice and a COVID-19 immunization record of 100 percent. Toews, 33, skated with a group that included longtime teammate Patrick Kane; they are the only surviving players from a six-year stretch that featured three Stanley Cup championships.
It was the latest stage in a long rehabilitation process for Toews, who has been attending informal sessions at the team’s practice facility, but one that meant a lot to him and the other players who know what he’s gone through in the last year.
Kane said, “I think he looks fantastic.” “Obviously, it’s wonderful to have him back. The most important thing is that you want him to be himself, correct? He’s been such an integral part of our company and squad for such a long time.”
The Blackhawks announced in late December, just before the start of the pandemic-shortened season, that Toews would miss the start of training camp due to an illness that left him “tired and sluggish.”
Toews remained largely silent for months until revealing in June that he had been suffering with what he called chronic immune response syndrome. He also claimed he underwent an antibody test on Thursday that revealed he had COVID-19 at one time.
“I believe we all have habits and patterns in our days that we depend on to find some sense of normality and stability in our lives, and when none of that is there, it may seem a little bit like you’re in outer space,” Toews said.
“But, as difficult as it was, I believe being away and actually sorting through everything and figuring out how I was going to go back to being myself and being a hockey player again was a good thing.”
Toews also mentioned the years of wear and strain on his body as a result of lengthy playoff campaigns and international participation with his home country of Canada. He returns with a newfound appreciation for all the small things he missed out on while he was gone, even the arduous first day of camp.
“It’s a nice sensation instead of feeling like, ‘OK, I’m in danger, I’m going to be up on the sofa for two, three days doing nothing after that,’” he added. “I consider it to be development.”
After a busy summer that featured the additions of defender Seth Jones and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the return of Toews may be a huge boost for Chicago. During the 2019-20 season, the center has 18 goals and 42 assists in 70 games.
Toews, on the other hand, said he’s taking things one day at a time. He said that his aim is to play on opening night in Colorado on Oct. 13, but that he has to be patient.
No one knows how Toews will do through the rigors of a lengthy NHL season. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, want to remain adaptable.
“Once we start ramping it up, the timetable becomes progressively more difficult as we go ahead,” said general manager Stan Bowman. “Camp, exhibition games, regular-season games with travel and back-to-back, three nights in a row are all on the schedule. The timetable becomes difficult. We’re not sure how he’ll deal with it. He was more than capable of handling the situation. That’s fantastic if he does. If not, we’ll work with him to come up with a solution.”