So we haven't talked all that much about it in the past few days, but the Hawks are doing the linguistic tango again over what's being said and reported about their captain. Here's the money quote:
"Whether it's a setback or part of the process, it's what we're dealing with." - Q
This is kind of wonderful in its nonsensicalness. It's right up there with my favorite Stan Bowman quote, which came last year about Marian Hossa's recovery from an injury.
"He's on schedule, but there's no timetable."
Being a writer I can only dream of coming up with this kind of ridiculousness.
Anyway, we can cut through the crap here, and go ahead and call it a setback. Because if you go from skating and picking your date to return to not skating and not really being seen anywhere, that's a setback. It's not part of the process. You don't work up your skating to returning to practice then not and then all of the sudden show up in a game. He's going to have to start skating on his own again and then rejoin practice and again and again.
Oh, isn't it odd that he joined the morning skate on Friday, which just so happened to be televised on the site, and now he hasn't skated with the team since? Odd, isn't it? Don't you think that's odd? I think it's odd.
Of course, no one bothers to press on this. All of the press corps kind of smiles and nods, and sends tweets with winks and a smirk that indicates they know what's really going on so hence they don't have to ask to get the people in charge to officially say so. We all know it's a concussion, so we don't have to get the Hawks to say so or whatever. And Hjalmarsson's new injury is not a concussion. That's what you've been told.
From here, there will be calls to shut Toews down the rest of the season. Might be valid, might not be. This isn't a broken bone or a ligament that he's hustling to be back from that could do lasting damage, a la Roenick in '95 on whatever was left of that knee after Derian Hatcher got done with it rushing back to face the Red Wings in the Conference Final. No one really knows what will help. Sidney Crosby missed half a season and had a summer, and he still ended up missing the first chunk of this season. Quite simply, everyone's different. If Toews feels that he needs to miss the rest of the year, then he should. If he feels he can play, well, there's not a lot to be done to argue with him. That's how these things go.
What we do know is that best case, he probably won't start skating again until next week. If everything goes according to plan with no setbacks , which this is (you don't want a dog, which I'm), we probably don't see him before the 25th against Nashville. More likely? Probably a return for Game 1, wherever that might be.
As for the team, if they can continue this level they've had, they can survive. Dallas is the hottest team in the league, but still has a scorch-able defense (notice the Jets ringing up five on them last night). The Caps? You've probably read an article or two about what a clown car they've been. Columbus has been spikier lately than they have been, but it's still Columbus. Have you seen Vancouver lately?
That's a very rose-tinted look, but it's what we've got at this point.