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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 ChicagoNow.com 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.

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