Jonathan Toews feels better, thinks this could be final weeks as Chicago Blackhawk

It really could be the end of an era in Chicago by the end of the season.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Tuesday he was feeling better with his symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome, but also began to recognize that this could be his last weeks playing hockey at home. Chicago with its future up in the air.

« Regardless of what happens in the future this summer, I definitely have it in my mind that these could be my last weeks here in Chicago as a Blackhawk, » Toews told the media after the Blackhawks’ morning practice. « So it’s really, really important for me to go out there, enjoy the game, soak it up and really appreciate everything that I’ve been able to be a part of here in Chicago – and show my appreciation to the fans, like Bien. »

Toews last played exactly two months ago, on January 28, and has since been out of training while dealing with symptoms of CIRS, which caused him to miss the entire 2020-21 season, and from Long COVID, which started when he had COVID-19 at some point during his recovery from CIRS.

Toews is currently in the final year of his eight-year contract with a $10.5 million deal he signed with the Blackhawks in the 2014 offseason, a deal that was his teammate’s extension of longtime Patrick Kane at the same time.

As a result, both players were on the trade market this season. While Kane was dealt to the New York Rangers, Toews pulled out of the deal in February because he didn’t think he would recover to the point of benefiting a playoff team.

« You can’t really explain because people won’t understand, » Toews said. “It’s not like a knee or shoulder injury where you’re lying under an MRI and your evidence is there. It was one of those complicated things. Even for me, it has sometimes been very difficult to understand what is happening.

Toews had a bit of a rebound season before leaving the roster, with 14 goals, 14 assists and 28 points in 46 games, on pace to easily surpass his career-worst season in 2021-22, where he had 12 goals, 25 assists and 37 points in 71 games.

If this is the end of his career, Toews will leave the game with 371 goals, 509 assists and 880 points in 1,060 games, plus whatever he will do in these final weeks of the season if he returns. He spent his entire 15-year career with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Selke Trophy in the NHL, as well as two international Olympic gold medals.

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