Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated on his own prior to practice Thursday at Johnny's IceHouse West. But Toews, who is recovering from a concussion, will still miss his ninth game in a row Friday when the Hawks host the New York Rangers.
But it's a good sign for Toews, who has been participating in only off-ice workouts for the past week or so. Toews hasn't played since Feb. 19 against the St. Louis Blues.
"He had a good skate today and he felt good," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's very exciting for us to see him back out here. He was encouraged as well. It was a really good day."
Toews told Quenneville he felt OK after his first skate in weeks.
"He felt good and that's part of it as well," Quenneville said. "It's a big first step, seeing him out here. But we'll see how he's progressing. It was nice to see him."
There is still no timetable for Toews' return.
"But off of that, we'll certainly get a [better] idea that maybe it's closer," Quenneville said. "We'll see."
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (concussion) took part in practice Thursday and said he's "hopeful" he can play Friday against the Rangers. He's missed 12 of the last 13 games.
"I'm a hopeful guy," Hjalmarsson said. "I always want to play, but it's just one of those things."
Can he do everything he wants to do on the ice?
"Yeah, otherwise I wouldn't be helpful," Hjalmarsson said.
Defenseman Sami Lepisto, though, is out indefinitely after his left leg was injured when St. Louis Blues forward David Perron fell on it in the second period on Tuesday.
"Sami is not just day-to-day, he's out for a bit here," Quenneville said. "We'll say indefinitely on him."