Jonathan Toews is expected to return Saturday from a back injury, a source told the Sun-Times. The injury has cost him three games already, and likely a fourth on Thursday. The Hawks host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, and visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Toews was injured during an awkward fall in San Jose last week, and hadn’t yet returned to the ice as of Tuesday. The Hawks have gone 2-0-1 in his absence, but with Artem Anisimov’s status uncertain after injuring his foot or ankle during Tuesday’s game against Florida, they desperately need their No. 1 center back. Even though Toews has been mired in a scoring slump, he’s arguably the Hawks’ most indispensable player — a force at both ends of the ice and on both special teams. The Hawks have been getting hammered at the faceoff dot, winning just 27 percent against Anaheim, 36 percent against Los Angeles, and 47 percent against Florida.
In his absence, Patrick Kane called Toews “maybe our most important player,” and goalie Scott Darling called him “the best player in the world.” Toews has four goals and eight assists in 21 games this season.