Whether or not Jonathan Toews would seek a trade before the NHL deadline is now moot.
It has been replaced by a new question of even greater concern: Will Toews play hockey again this season?
The Blackhawks captain — who hasn’t played or practiced with the team since Jan. 28, the final day before the All-Star break — said Sunday that he must officially leave the team due to health issues.
He remains hampered by lingering Covid symptoms and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, which is the same condition that sidelined him for the entire 2020-21 season.
“It’s been really challenging to play through these symptoms,” Toews said in a statement. “In the last few weeks, it got to the point where I had no choice but to retire and focus on getting healthy. I am grateful for the patience and support of my teammates, coaching staff and the entire Blackhawks organization.”
Toews had resumed skating a few days last week while the Hawks were in Canada, but he stopped after “his body wasn’t responding the way he hoped,” Hawks general manager Kyle Davidson said.
With any trade possibilities now extinguished, the Hawks are optimistic Toews may be able to return for a few games before the end of the April 13 season, which also marks the end of his contract. However, this is not a guarantee.
“We’re going to work with him and support him in whatever he needs to do to make sure he feels good and feels strong and in a place where he can get back on the ice,” Davidson said. “We’ll take it day by day, but the hope is he can still play some games here down the stretch.”
This story will be updated.
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