Chicago Sun-Times

Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson nearing return for the Blackhawks

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Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was ready to meet the media Tuesday after the Blackhawks' morning skate. But he wasn't about to go into detail about why he hasn't been in the lineup.

Hjalmarsson (concussion-like symptoms) skated with the Hawks for the first time since leaving the second leg of their nine-game road trip with an illness that turned out to be something worse. Hjalmarsson didn't say whether he had to be cleared to play.

Hjalmarsson said he was nauseous in San Jose on Feb. 10 and decided to return to Chicago to avoid infecting others. But the symptoms lingered for Hjalmarsson, who missed his seventh game in a row Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.

"It's just a matter of I want to feel 100 percent when I get back," Hjalmarsson said. "If I would have played [Tuesday], I wouldn't really feel comfortable. I haven't practiced with the guys or been on the ice really at all. I would have been a liability out there instead of an asset."

It was the third day in a row Hjalmarsson skated, but it was the first time he was with the Hawks.

"If I would have been 100 percent, I would have played, for sure," Hjalmarsson said. "It's always tough when you haven't done anything really in a week and a half to get back. It's amazing how fast you lose everything and how long it takes to get back. I really need to work on my conditioning a little bit and the puck handling and hopefully I'll get back soon.

The status of defenseman Steve Montador (upper-body) hasn't changed. He remains on injured reserve.

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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 21, 2012 6:44 PM.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to miss Red Wings game with an upper-body injury was the previous entry in this blog.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to sit out against Dallas Stars on Thursday is the next entry in this blog.

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