The big snow may have been on its way.
The desperate Blackhawks may have been hosting the equally desperate Dallas Stars.
But all the talk around the United Center on Thursday centered around Hawks center Jonathan Toews, who approximately 10 hours earlier was involved in a one-car collision, one in which he walked away uninjured and for which no citations were issued.
Toews wasn't in the lineup Thursday, his second straight absence since suffering what some have speculated was a concussion but what the Hawks have deemed an upper-body injury.
Toews was in attendance at the United Center for the Hawks' 3-1 loss, but he wasn't made available to the media.
"Nothing's changed; he's fine," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He was at the game, but I haven't spoken to him today but he's around … he's doing fine."
Asked whether the Hawks' captain would accompany the team on their weekend trek to Los Angeles and Anaheim, Quenneville said: "We haven't determined that yet."
The Hawks certainly could have used Toews' leadership and poise Thursday, especially in a third period in which they allowed all 3 Dallas goals, all coming via deflection.
"Tough, tough, tough," Quenneville said. "It was right there in our hands and we let it get away. You can say we didn't do enough to deserve to get the win."
After being held scoreless on just 10 shots through two periods, the Stars came alive in the third, peppering Corey Crawford for 15 shots to end the Hawks' winning streak at four games.
"I don't pay attention to shot count, but clearly we didn't manage the puck well in the third and as a result we lose the game," Jamal Mayers said. "We had a couple of costly turnovers and for whatever reason we seemed to get away from our game."
A solid hustle play by Michael Frolik, stealing the puck behind the Dallas net, set up the first goal of the game by Marian Hossa in the second period. The goal was Hossa's fourth in his last six games.
The Hawks outshot the Stars 22-10 through two periods, but then things fell apart in the final 20 minutes.
"That's a tough loss; we really wanted that one bad," Viktor Stalberg said. "They made a couple of good plays -- they tipped in three pucks.
"It's a tough one to swallow. We have to do a better job blocking those shots, making sure we don't give up those tips in front."
Now it's time to hit the road for a couple of days.
"We've been playing pretty solid the past few games," Stalberg added. "We have to get back that way and get ready for Saturday night in L.A."