Chicago Blackhawks reporter
Ben Pope covers the Chicago Blackhawks for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Toews returned to Blackhawks morning skate Tuesday — two months to the day since his last game — and will try to make a few appearances before the season ends April 13. But he has battled through immense pain and fatigue to get to this point.
The Hawks have dropped into a nearly dead heat with the Sharks and Blue Jackets for last place in the NHL — and the best draft-lottery odds — with nine games to go. But the coaches and players still believe they have things to prove during the stretch run.
Johnson suffered the concussion Feb. 14 but then played three more games afterward, unsure if his symptoms indicated a concussion. Once he did tell medical staffers, he missed 16 games before rejoining the Hawks’ lineup Saturday.
Athanasiou’s unexpected position change snapped him out of a funk with “one of his strongest games all year.” But the Wild took the lead with 1:11 left and beat the Hawks 3-1, marking their eighth straight win in the rivalry series.
On Sunday, Richardson will turn 54 and also coach his 73rd Hawks game — a sign of his debut season nearing its end. He’s proud of the team culture he has helped build in it, although learning how to manage his time has been challenging.
Buddy Robinson and brother Eric, a Blue Jackets forward, crossed paths in Washington before consecutive matchups against the Capitals. But Buddy’s Hawks struggled mightily Thursday in a 6-1 loss.
Murphy, Seth Jones and coach Luke Richardson commented Thursday on the Hawks’ organizational decision not to wear Pride jerseys on Pride Night on Sunday.
The Hawks have three players born or with family in Russia, where a law was passed in December banning “gay propaganda.” Conversations with security officials prompted an organizational decision to scrap the jersey plans, sources say.
Johnson has gone 11 consecutive games without scoring despite recording 43 shots and 30 scoring chances over the same time period. He has been particularly snakebitten during the Hawks’ last two losses in Arizona and Colorado.