Jonathan Toews returns to Blackhawks
By: Mike Stiles - Friday, September 24, 2021

Jonathan Toews (photo courtesy of Chicago Sun Times)

(CHICAGO) – Jonathan Toews is skating again. He is practicing with the Chicago Blackhawks, just like he did before he missed all of last season. He is smiling and joking around with his teammates again. The rest of the questions, the ones about opening night and returning to form and his fitness, those are going to have to hang out there for a while. All Toews knows right now is the moment. And right now, he is playing again. The new-look Blackhawks opened training camp Thursday with their captain back on the ice, to go along with a 100% COVID-19 vaccination rate. The 33 year old Toews skated with a group that included longtime teammate Patrick Kane. They are the last remaining players from a run of three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons. It was the latest step in a recovery process that has been going on for a while. In late December, right before the start of the pandemic-shortened season, the Blackhawks announced Toews would miss the start of training camp because of an illness that included symptoms that left him feeling "drained and lethargic." What followed were months of mostly silence on Toews before he announced in June that he had been suffering from what he described as chronic immune response syndrome. He said Thursday he also had an antibody test that showed he had COVID-19 at one point. The return of Toews could provide a big lift for Chicago after an active offseason that included the acquisitions of defenseman Seth Jones and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The center had 18 goals and 42 assists in 70 games during the 2019-20 season. But Toews said he is taking it one day at a time. He said his goal is to play on opening night on Oct. 13 at Colorado, but he wants to be patient. As far as the grind of a long NHL season, no one is certain how Toews will hold up. But the Blackhawks are planning to stay flexible.