Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is hopeful his captain Jonathan Toews will be able to play in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
Toews sat out the entire third period of Game 5 of due to injury as his team eked out a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at United Center on Saturday night. The Blackhawks lead the series 3-2 and can clinch the Cup with a win in Game 6.
"Johnny is doing much better today. He's progressed," Quenneville said Sunday. "We're optimistic that he might be playing tomorrow night."
Quenneville said Toews had an upper-body injury. He was the second All-Star center knocked out of the lineup in Game 5 as Boston’s Patrice Bergeron was transported to the hospital with an undisclosed injury.
It was unclear how Toews was injured, but he absorbed a brutal hit as he attempted to make a play across the middle. As he cut to the left not far from the Bruins’ net, Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk punished him with a massive shoulder (and maybe an elbow) that caught Toews up high.
No penalty was called on the play and Boychuk won't face a disciplinary hearing, so suspension is not forthcoming.
"There wasn't a penalty on the play, and it was one of those hits in a tight area in front of the net," Quenneville said Sunday. "You can be vulnerable in that area, a big hit. The first part of contact you could talk about, but I'm not going to go there."
Toews remained in the game for a few shifts after the Boychuk hit and later absorbed another hard hit delivered by Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg. Toews’ last shift ended with 39 seconds left in the second.
“I saw a quick replay and he seemed to get up,” Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. “I just talked to him there and he seemed OK. I don’t want to comment on why he wasn’t played, but hopefully we can get him back.”
The CBC reported that Toews pleaded with trainers to let him go back in the game.
“I checked on him a couple times there,” Quenneville said. “I think he wanted to play, but we'll see.”
Toews struggled this series before he broke through in Game 4 with his first point (a goal). He added two assists — both secondary assists on Patrick Kane tallies — before he was forced out of action on Saturday.