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Columnist: Chicago should consider shutting Toews down

Mar 1, 2012, 10:54 AM EDT

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The Chicago Daily Herald’s Barry Rozner — one of Vancouver’s favorite columnists — is asking a serious question after Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed his fifth consecutive game with a suspected concussion:

Should Chicago shut him down?

It’s an interesting query. Toews hasn’t played since sustaining the “upper-body injury” on Feb. 19 (Chicago hasn’t confirmed he has a concussion) and, most distressingly, hasn’t even been able to skate. Toews did some light off-ice exercise on Wednesday, including riding a stationary bike, but there appears to be no change in his recovery and still no timetable for return.

“We’ve got him going day-to-day,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll see how he’s progressing. Today is no change from yesterday, so hopefully he can get going soon and we can get him back on the ice.”

A few things to consider here:

1) Toews was involved in a single-vehicle accident last Thursday, leaving the scene in an ambulance. While he later told local newspapers he was fine and the accident was “nothing serious at all,” it certainly couldn’t have helped in his recovery.

2) A source told that Toews’ injury is indeed a concussion, with another source claiming it was suffered on Feb. 10 against San Jose. Toews stayed in the Blackhawks lineup until Feb. 19, which begs the question — did he play five games with a concussion?

3) Chicago’s head injury protocol has come under scrutiny after several players — Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrookreturned too quickly from their respective aliments and were forced to re-exit the lineup.

Toews, 23, also has a history of concussions dating back to 2009, when he was hit violently by then-Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell. Toews missed six games dealing with post-concussion symptoms.

  1. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    It’s all well and good to sit back from a largely uninformed position and opine about what Chicago should or shouldn’t do with the Captain, but everybody reacts to and recovers from concussions in his/her own way. Rozner doesn’t know any better than any other outsider what is going on and how the Hawks should handle it going forward.

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      What are they going to do this year in the playoffs? Are they poised to make a deep run in the playoffs this year they way they are playing?

      What is the benefit of bringing him back this year to a team that, if the last month has been any indication, won’t make it out of the first round?

      I would like to see Toews have as long a career as possible. I don’t want to go through what Pittsburgh fans are going through.

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      You’re right – Rozner doesn’t know any better than you or I.

      The thing is, as Mike pointed out the Blackhawks haven’t exactly got a stellar track record for managing their players head injury recoveries.

  2. vockeea - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Can’t forget Martin Havlat coming back a game later after being knocked unconscious by Nick Kronwall in the ’09 Western Conference finals. He obviously wasn’t ready to come back and ended up sitting after the first period. I realize I don’t know the whole story behind Toews’ particular situation, but I agree with Halford in that Chicago is starting to earn a reputation in the media that they are rushing players back.

    Despite the lack of knowledge of the injury the Chicago columnist has, Chicago needs to handle this situation with a delicate touch. Toews will be a long time asset for the franchise, and there is no need to risk his health for the now. Every concussion is unique to each person, and it is vital to keep players like Toews and Crosby in the game for years to come.

  3. cmutimmah - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    How overblown are these concussions becoming?

    There’s a full 5 weeks left in the season… Who knows what his recovery table is or could be? The media should shut their traps about medical conditions… because we all know it’s just a way for their site to get hits.. This bit is getting old.

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