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Monday, 24 June 2013 03:12

Chicago Blackhawks' Toews status continues to improve

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Photo courtesy of NESN.com

BOSTON--  The Chicago Blackhawks (link) are extremely close to victory and it appears as though the status of one of their stars is still unknown. According to Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com, (link) head coach Joel Quenneville said he was optimistic in regards to whether star forward Jonathan Toews (link) would play Monday evening.

"Johnny is doing much better [Sunday,]" Quenneville said at TD Garden. "He's progressing. We're optimistic he'll play [Monday] night."

Toews’ injury stemmed from a hit courtesy of Boston Bruins’ (link) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (link). Boychuk did not receive disciplinary action from the league because he “didn't extend his elbow or launch and did not target Toews' head or make it the principal point of contact” according to the report.

Not surprisingly, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was in favor of the league’s decision.

"I think they said it was clean, wasn't it? Then I agree with them," Julien said Sunday afternoon. "I'm not going to hide from that. If it wasn't a clean hit, I'd have been a guy that supported those kind of things that we need to get out of the game. But it was a clean hit."

In total, Toews played 12:56 of ice time which amounted to 18 shifts. After coming out of the gate a bit slowly to start the Stanley Cup Finals, he has picked up his play. As the report notes, before exiting the game he assisted on both of Patrick Kane’s goals. In total, Toews has notched two goals and 10 assists in 22 playoff games, and throughout the season has been an integral part of what has been an explosive offensive Chicago attack.

He did not speak to the media following Saturday’s contest, and was not available to reporters on Sunday.  In the meantime, Boychuk defended his hard hit.

"I'm pretty sure it was clean," Boychuk said. "He was cutting to the net, and I came across and read it and hit him. ... I'm going to try and play physical. If he's going to drive the net, like he's supposed to, I'm going to try and hit."

Toews will be evaluated again on Monday morning according to Quenneville, and there remains to be a definitive answer to the question of whether he will play on Monday night.