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posted: 3/29/2012 10:18 PM

McDonough says things are just fine with Blackhawks

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That rumored rift between Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville concerning the respect afforded GM Stan Bowman, Scotty's son?

Nothing to it, says team president John McDonough.

"I read that. I laughed. No, that's not true," McDonough said Friday. "I don't know what the derivation of that was.

"I didn't even know what they would be referring to. I guess they would be talking about a rift between Scotty and Joel? No there's no rift whatsoever."

McDonough spoke to reporters after a news conference to promote a partnership between the Bulls, the Hawks and Constellation Energy.

In addition to talking about the rumored rift, the Hawks president also was asked if -- during the Hawks' nine-game losing streak -- he ever had any thoughts of firing his coach.

"Absolutely not," he said. "We have great confidence in Joel; he's been through these things before. He's won two Stanley Cups, one as an assistant coach and one as a head coach.

"I've been in sports for 32 years. We've seen these losing streaks -- they're not a lot of fun to go through. Good teams figure a way to come out of them -- which we did. There's no panic button here."

What about if the Hawks suffer a first-round playoff loss?

"No. We're not anticipating any changes," McDonough said. "We extended both Joel and Stan not too long ago. I'm very proud of the jobs Joel and Stan have done."

Captain (almost) fantastic:

The return of Jonathan Toews to the lineup appears imminent.

Toews, who missed his 18th straight game Thursday, participated in the morning skate and sounded optimistic that he soon will be cleared for contact and then .

"I'm getting very close," he said. "But right now, like I said, I'm feeling great. I've just got to get those legs going and get myself back to being as close to game shape as I can."

And about the start of contact?

"Umm I'm not sure if it's official yet, but probably, if it's not today, it will be soon enough," he said.

Asked if the captain possibly could be back in the lineup as soon as next week, Joel Quenneville said simply, "Let's hope so."

Not looking good:

Defenseman Steve Montador (concussion), who finally returned to the lineup Tuesday in New Jersey, may have reaggravated the injury when he collided with the Devils' Mark Fayne.

"We'll just say he's out indefinitely," Joel Quenneville said. "Upper body."

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