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Toews has medical issue, no timetable for return to Blackhawks

Center feels drained and lethargic, will miss training camp

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Jonathan Toews will not attend training camp for the Chicago Blackhawks because of a medical issue, and there is no timetable for the center's return.

The 32-year-old said in a statement Tuesday that he's been experiencing symptoms that have left him feeling drained and lethargic. 

"I am working with doctors so I can better understand my condition," Toews said. "Until I can get my health back to a place where I feel I can perform at an elite level and help my team, I will not be joining the Blackhawks for training camp. I do not have a timetable for when I will rejoin the team. I am extremely disappointed, but it wouldn't be fair to myself or my teammates to attempt to play in my current condition."

Toews scored 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 70 games last season and nine points (five goals, four assists) in nine games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion (2010, 2013, 2015) and has been Blackhawks captain since 2008.

"I've known he hasn't felt great for a while, but it wasn't until recently when we spoke that he indicated that he has to try to figure out a way to feel better before he's going to be able to perform at the level we need him to," Chicago general manager Stan Bowman told NBC Sports Chicago on Wednesday. "It's something I know he's been battling with for a while, going back, not just the last couple of weeks. So we've had a couple of conversations, and for me, most important thing is he knows and everyone knows that the most important thing is for [Jonathan] to get back to feeling good. Hockey's secondary right now. We care about him as a hockey player because he's a huge part of our team, but there's no way to be an effective hockey player if you don't feel right."

Video: Blackhawks Jonathan Toews with a major announcement

Asked when he knew Toews was having the issue, Bowman said, "I don't know how to pinpoint exactly. There's a lot of times when athletes aren't feeling like peak performance. This is something not unusual if a guy feels tired, if you don't have your energy. That isn't an alarming thing. As it goes on and you can't get yourself back to normal is when it becomes problematic. If you don't feel great necessarily after a game or series of games, not a red flag. In Jonathan's case, it's lingered for a while."

The Blackhawks are scheduled to begin the 56-game regular season at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 13. They will be thin at center without Toews and Kirby Dach, who is expected to be out 4-5 months after having wrist surgery Monday. Forward Alex Nylander is out 4-6 months after surgery Dec. 21 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

"No question that you don't have a replacement for [Jonathan] waiting in the wings, as far as what he brings to the table," Bowman said. "We'll probably get into this as we talk about other injured players, the only way to approach it as a team, for a manager or coach or player, we have to focus on what's here, and we love these players, care about them, but once they're not available to play, we set them aside and we focus on the group of players here, same with Kirby and [Alex] Nylander. I think we have to set them aside, we know they're not available. We have to turn attention to the players we do have."

Dach was injured Dec. 23 playing for Canada in a pretournament game at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"I'm doing pretty good, actually," the 19-year-old told TSN on Tuesday. "I thought it'd be a lot worse. Obviously, I lived with (Blackhawks defenseman) Brent [Seabrook] last year, and he went through a bunch of surgeries, so I was expecting the worst, but it's not too bad."

Nylander was injured during Chicago's five-game loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference First Round.

Toews, the No. 3 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, has scored 815 points (345 goals, 470 assists) in 13 seasons with Chicago.

"To Blackhawks fans, I will continue to do whatever I can to get back on the ice and return to play the game I love for the team I love," he said. "I will not be making any further comment at this time and ask everyone to please respect my privacy as I focus on my health and recovery."

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