Toews getting close to game action

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is improving, but he will sit out a scrimmage on Monday and the first preseason game on Tuesday due to a lower-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday.

Quenneville said Toews skated at the United Center on Monday, and Toews gave him encouraging news afterward.

“He said he felt great,” Quenneville said. “That’s a good sign. No aggravation.”

Toews was kept out of the team’s scrimmages on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Notre Dame. Quenneville said Friday that Toews’ injury was minor and it was something he suffered prior to the training camp.

Quenneville said Toews would participate in future preseason games. The Blackhawks have six preseason games before their season opener on Oct. 1.

“He’ll definitely be playing in preseason games,” Quenneville said. “We’ll be keeping an eye on him this week.”

Michal Handzus, Michal Rozsival and Brandon Pirri will also not play in Monday’s scrimmage due to injuries. Quenneville described Pirri as being “OK,” and he said Handzus and Rozsival were improving.

“Handzus and [Rozsival] have been skating a lot over the past few days,” Quenneville said. “They’re both progressing well. We see them both being ready to start the season.”

Quenneville said Marian Hossa will sit out Monday’s scrimmage to give other players more ice time.