Being on the ice with center Dave Bolland Saturday was another encouraging sign for the Blackhawks.
"He was out there for a little bit with us," defenseman Brian Campbell said of Bolland, who continues to make considerable progress as he recovers from his concussion.
"As long as he's skating that's great for us. We'll see what happens. It's a tough injury for somebody. He's got to take his time that he needs until he's 100 percent ready."
That time won't come until the playoffs -- and that's if the Hawks ensure their berth by defeating or earning at least a point against the Detroit Red Wings Sunday at the United Center.
It was the second day in a row Bolland, who was not made available to the media after the short practice, took the ice. It was his first time with teammates.
Bolland will miss his 14th game in a row when the Hawks host the Red Wings Sunday. He hasn't played since getting elbowed in the back of his head by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina on March 9.
"He's still not cleared for contact, but he's made real good progress over the last three or four days," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll continue to see how he's progressing and hopefully he continues progressing at a rapid rate [like] the last few days. Hopefully, he feels good and he's able to keep going."
The Hawks, though, need to keep going in order for Bolland to have a chance to play. Bolland was a big part of the Hawks' success last year, succeeding in agitating stars and in a checking role.
"[Bolland] is one of our top centers," goalie Corey Crawford said. "He's a good player. Obviously, he helps the team. I don't know where he's at right now. Hopefully, he's ready soon. But we can't be too worried about that right now. We've got other things to focus on."
Like playing the Red Wings.