Blackhawks notebook: Jonathan Toews’ training again as concussion recovery continues

“[Toews] has been training, getting a little sweat, putting a little stress on his body, but I’m not sure how he’s reacting to that,” Derek King said Monday.

SHARE Blackhawks notebook: Jonathan Toews’ training again as concussion recovery continues
Jonathan Toews, out since Jan. 26 with a concussion, is now training again.

Jonathan Toews, out since Jan. 26 with a concussion, is now training again.

Paul Sancya/AP

As the Blackhawks wrapped up their three-game road trip Monday with a 3-1 victory against the Jets, Jonathan Toews was ramping up his recovery back in Chicago.

The Hawks’ captain — out since Jan. 26 with a concussion — resumed training, interim Derek King said, although King wasn’t sure if Toews had progressed yet to skating.

“I know he has been training, getting a little sweat, putting a little stress on his body, but I’m not sure how he’s reacting to that,” King said.

Without Toews, the Hawks’ depth down the middle has been tested, with Ryan Carpenter, Sam Lafferty and Josiah Slavin spending more time at center — and, in Slavin’s case, on the NHL roster — than they had before.

Toews’ absence also has forced the Hawks to keep Kirby Dach at center despite his awful 33.8% faceoff percentage. King admitted that moving Dach to the wing, even though the rest of his playing style matches perfectly at center, might be considered later this season.

“Kirby is such a good skater, [and] he likes to keep his feet moving,” King said. “The wing is more stop-and-start. So center, for now, is a good position. But eventually, as the team gets stronger [with] Toews back, [it] could be a possibility to see him on the wing.”

Carpenter still searching

Toews’ ridiculous goal drought early this season had him, at one point, sitting atop what could be aptly described as the NHL’s “misery leaderboard” — a ranking of forwards with the most shots on goal without a goal.

Now, it’s Carpenter who sits atop that list.

The defensive-minded Hawks veteran has recorded 48 shots on goal this season without scoring once, which is a lot more than other top misery contenders at the moment — Flames forward Brett Richie (37 shots) and Coyotes forward Riley Nash (30). No other goal-less forwards around the league have more than 23 shots to their name.

“I had a goal waved off this year, and another one where I celebrated hard but it wasn’t my goal,” Carpenter said Monday. “Sometimes I’ve had periods where I go a long time without scoring, and then sometimes they come in bunches. But my game has always got to be a simple direct game, and all it takes is a rebound or a puck off you with a screen, so if I keep doing the right things, it’ll work out.”

The goal drought isn’t the only thing nagging Carpenter. He also has to answer for the Hawks’ penalty kill struggles, as a longtime key member of that unit.

“Sometimes you’re doing everything right and still feel like you’re getting bounces against you,“ he said. “And other times, you’re maybe not as good [but] goalies are making big saves for you and the PK looks better than what it is. It feels like we’ve been limiting seam passes and slot chances on the PK as of late. But still, we’ve just got to find a way [to improve].”

Super party

King credited Hawks team-services guru Tony Ommen for throwing a great Super Bowl party Sunday at the Hawks’ Winnipeg hotel, giving the team a much-needed evening of fun.

“It wasn’t uncomfortable,” King said. “It wasn’t like we threw up a stinker [against the Blues] and we came into that [party] and everybody’s quiet and got their heads down. It’s like, ‘Hey, you can cheer on the football, have some laughs, have a couple of chicken wings and relax.’ It was just a really good day.”

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