Though it rarely occurred where either/or was out of the lineup during their years together, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull can nonetheless feel the pain of this year's Blackhawks as they fight for their playoff life while captain Jonathan Toews is injured and watching from the sidelines.
"It's difficult to play without Jonathan Toews because he is their leader," Hull said, prior to the premiere of the film "Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita -- Monuments to Excellence" on Wednesday night at the IMAX Theatre at Navy Pier. "They played so well up until that last game (against St. Louis) without Johnny."
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It's hard to quantify all the intangibles the Blackhawks are missing in the absence of Toews (upper body/possible concussion) over the last eight games.
But one thing that can be quantified is scoring: without Toews in the lineup, the Hawks have scored a total of 14 goals in eight games -- and that includes the 5 goals in their win over Toronto.
"I just hope they can stay together," said Hull, "and maybe without Jonathan they can all come together and waltz into the playoffs as a group going forward instead of backwards."
Toews, who has 57 points in 59 games, has yet to skate but is participating in off-ice workouts while he overcomes his injury. Mikita hopes the captain doesn't rush it.
"You get injured and you want to come back as soon as possible," Mikita said. "Sometimes you're better off not."
Painful to watch:
When defenseman Sami Lepitso went down in a heap in his own zone and struggled to even make it to the bench in the second period Tuesday night, it looked another name would be added to the list of the walking wounded.
Even though Lepisto could hardly put any weight on his leg en route to the locker room, after the game Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville called Lepisto's status day to day and said the injury wasn't serious.
The Breakfast club:
The Blackhawks' morning skate Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the United Center, in advance of that evening's game against the New York Rangers, will be streamed online as Morning Skate Live presented by AthletiCo. There will be multi-camera views, analysis of the on-ice activities, a 'Sounds Of The Skate' perspective from a Blackhawks player wearing a microphone, and interviews on the bench with Joel Quenneville.
The behind-the-scenes look will be available on chicagoblackhawks.com and via the Blackhawks App.
He said it:
"For us, we work and we feel like if we work, we're going to win, and when we don't work, we get angry. It's not just coaches mad at players, it's players pushing players, it's everybody pushing each other. We want to be proud of our work ethic. We feel like if our work ethic is at the top of the heap, we have a chance to beat anybody."
-- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock after his team's 5-1 victory over the Hawks