Blackhawks notes: Jonathan Toews plans to play in every remaining game as mornings improve

Wednesday morning felt better than Sunday morning for Toews, who will make his third consecutive appearance Thursday against the Canucks and who anticipates making four more during the season’s final week.

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Jonathan Toews reaches for the puck.

Jonathan Toews’ game recoveries are getting better as his end-of-season return to the Blackhawks’ lineup continues.

AP Photos

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Jonathan Toews’ Sunday morning, after his first game back in the Blackhawks’ lineup, was “pretty rough.”

But that, Toews assumed, was a “given,” considering how long it had been. Then Wednesday morning, after he played his second game, was better than Sunday morning. And both mornings were better than his mornings had been in January and February.

“I’m happy with the way I’m responding,” Toews said Thursday. “Even coming to morning skate today, I feel good and excited. It’s definitely a different feeling for myself than I had a couple of months ago before I came out of the lineup.”

Toews made his third consecutive Hawks appearance Thursday against the Canucks, handling the first-line center duties between Lukas Reichel and Andreas Athanasiou for a second consecutive game. He plans to play in the Hawks’ four remaining games, too.

“Given how things have progressed in a positive manner, I’d much rather continue on this path and close out the season, spending time with the guys and playing hard these last handful of games with the guys, than being on the shelf again,” he said. “Obviously, that’s no fun for anybody.”

It has helped that the Hawks’ coaching staff has encouraged Toews to wave to the bench whenever he needs a change, even if that happens before his linemates wrap up their own shifts.

The Hawks have someone ready to sub on for him if they see he got caught “down low in the corner” and think he might not “quite have the juice to make the full backcheck [over] 200 feet.”

Meanwhile, Toews is noticing his body acting more the way he wants. He’s able to withstand exerting “peak energy” for longer, then recover faster afterward. His breathing also has improved.

Raddysh pleased

Taylor Raddysh first got to know Tyler Johnson during the no-fans 2021 season, when Raddysh was called up to the Lightning’s roster as a COVID extra but never made it into a game.

This season, Raddysh and Johnson have not only become closer friends, but they’ve also played a ton together: 541 minutes entering Thursday. Those two wingers flanking center Jason Dickinson have formed the Hawks’ second line for a long time now.

“When you play with guys for a while, you start building chemistry,” Raddysh said. “I’ve been with Tyler most of the year, so he’s been a nice guy to be with and feel comfortable with.”

Raddysh touts four assists in his last four games, bringing his season total to 17 — just a bit shy of his 20-goal total. That’s a solid stat line for his second year as a full-time NHL forward.

“From last year to this year, coming to Chicago, I took a big step from Tampa,” he said. “It comes off opportunity, as well, but I feel like I’ve taken a big step, and I’m pretty happy with the way it went.”

He suffered a lower-body injury late Thursday, however.

But no veggies

Despite his overall positivity, Raddysh nonetheless shook the hockey world with some shocking news: He has never actually eaten a radish.

“I’ve had a thin one on a salad, but I’ve never gone out of my way to eat one,” he admitted. “I’m kind of a picky eater.”

Urged to buy some at the grocery store this offseason and try them, he hesitantly and unconvincingly agreed to do so.

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