Jonathan Toews back for playoffs

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Monday that he did not have a problem with the hit the Pittsburgh Penguins' Brooks Orpik delivered on him or the way his teammates handled the situation.

Toews suffered an upper-body injury when Orpik hit him into the boards during the second period of their game March 30. Toews left the ice holding his left arm and missed the team's final six regular-season games due to the injury. His teammates were criticized by hockey analysts and fans for not retaliating against Orpik or one of the Penguins' star players.

"I think our team was having a tough week there, and we're trying to win that game there," Toews said Monday in his first comments since the hit. "That was the most important thing. So to get into stupidness -- stupidity -- that's not even a word, trying to get into that sort of thing wasn't going to help us at all as a team.

"The boys did the right thing. I don't expect anything after something like that. That was a clean hit. We moved on. We've had a good week since then, a good week and a bit. Put it behind us."

Toews began skating again last week and will begin practicing with the team Tuesday. The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, will open the playoffs on the road against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Toews and Patrick Kane, who has also been injured, both declared themselves ready for the playoffs Monday. Kane sat out the Blackhawks' final 12 regular-season games with a lower-body injury. He suffered the injury against the Blues on March 19. He has been practicing with the team since April 9.

"[I feel] good, really good," Toews said after participating in drills with Kane on Monday. "I don't think you ever want to miss any games, but if you do on the one side you can try and rest up and be as mentally ready for the playoffs as you can.

"At the same time, I don't feel like I lost anything. It was only a short while to be away from playing the games. I think for anyone who's been playing right until the end of the season, it's going to be an adjustment with the speed of the playoffs, so everyone's going to have to step it up a little bit. I think we'll all be excited, especially myself in Game 1. Hopefully that energy and that excitement can carry me through and get me enough to play my best, I guess."

Kane also felt refreshed heading into the playoffs.

"Yeah, I feel pretty good," Kane said. "I've had some time to rest my injury, obviously, the right amount of time, and with anything you want to make sure you're feeling good coming back. I think that's where I'm at right now. It'll be nice to get a couple skates with the team tomorrow and Wednesday and the pregame skate Thursday and get ready to go."

Kane said he expected the Blues to be as physical as they always are with him, but he wasn't going to adjust his game coming off the injury.

"You try to be a smart enough player to put yourself in the right position to take a hit in the right way and play the way you know how to play the game," Kane said. "We'll try not to change that too much."

Kane is second on the team with 69 points (29 goals, 40 assists), and Toews is third with 68 points (28 goals, 40 assists). The Blackhawks played their last six games without Kane and Toews and went 4-2-0 to finish the regular season third in the Central Division with a 46-21-15 record and 107 points. Kane and Toews had been out of the team's lineup at the same time just once prior to this season.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had no doubt both players would be fine to play their usual roles and minutes come Thursday.

"We know they're ready," Quenneville said. "They haven't played games in a while, but the level they're accustomed to playing at, they should be fine."