Chicago Sun-Times

Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson still out for Blackhawks

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A day after skating on his own, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson joined his Blackhawks teammates on the ice for their morning skate Wednesday before they hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center.

But his status for games is still up in the air. He won't play against the Maple Leafs and his availability for the Hawks' three-game road trip starting Friday in Ottawa is uncertain.

"I'm feeling pretty good, I'd say," said Hjalmarsson, who has missed nine of the last 10 games with concussion symptoms. "It feels good to be out on the ice again and to try to get the conditioning back once again."

Hjalmarsson said there is "not really" a timetable for his return.

"I'm still waiting to be feeling good in my body," he said. "I'm just trying to get my conditioning up and try to get out there. I obviously really want to get out there.

"It's been very frustrating for me the last couple of weeks. It's at the end of the season and it's tight in the standings. I just want to try and help the team. But right now, I'm not 100 percent. It's better for me to try to and get my conditioning up and wait for the right time."

After missing seven straight games, Hjalmarsson suffered a setback while playing 16 minutes, 6 seconds against the Dallas Stars on Feb. 23.

"I gave it a try," Hjalmarsson said. "I thought I was fine, but I felt pretty fast out there that I was a couple last percentages there to be 100 percent."

Does he feel like the Stars and ex-Hawk Adam Burish made an effort to hit him?

"No, I don't think so," Hjalmarsson said. "I'm used to getting hit out there. I put myself in those spots some times. Once again, that's how [Burish] plays. I'm used to getting hit out there, so I don't think so."

Did things get progressively worse for him as the game played out?

"I would say I felt it pretty fast, but it's tough to know when you've been out for a while too," Hjalmarsson said. "I thought to myself it might have been because I've been gone for so long that I feel a little off-balance. But I just didn't feel 100 percent."

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on February 29, 2012 11:45 AM.

'No progress' for Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews was the previous entry in this blog.

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