Toews: 'This could be my last few weeks here in Chicago'
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews knows his time in the Windy City could be nearing its conclusion.
"Regardless of what happens in the future this summer, it's definitely on my mind that this could be my last few weeks here in Chicago as a Blackhawk," Toews said Tuesday, according to Ben Pope of The Chicago Sun-Times.
Toews, who's spent his entire 15-year NHL career with the Blackhawks, is in the final season of an eight-year, $84-million pact he inked in July 2014. But contractual obligations aside, his ongoing health issues could potentially prevent him from playing hockey anywhere next year.
He said in February that he's still dealing with symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome, the latter of which forced him to miss the entire 2020-21 season. Chicago's longtime captain said he had been experiencing steady improvement before his health worsened in January. He shut himself down and hasn't played since Jan. 28.
"When day after day you're just pushing through pain, it's like, to what end?" Toews said. "I'm at that point where it feels like more damage is being done than is a good thing."
Toews skated in 46 of Chicago's first 48 games this season, but he says it eventually became too much for his body to handle.
"It just got to the point where I couldn't move on the ice and didn't even want to put on my skates or roll out of bed to come to the rink," he said. "So it was pretty rough."
But he felt well enough to join the team for morning skate on Tuesday. He won't play Tuesday against the Dallas Stars, but he's making a push to return for the last few games of the regular season.
"That's definitely very important for me to just go out there, enjoy the game, soak it in, and just really appreciate everything I've been able to be a part of here in Chicago - and show my appreciation to the fans as well," he said.
Toews has won three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and a Selke Trophy during his time in Chicago. He's amassed 880 points across 1,060 regular-season games.
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