Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews stepped away from hockey in February to take care of issues from Long COVID. The move put any trade speculation and discussion on the shelf for the rest of the season.

Now, Toews could be close to a return to the ice. The Blackhawks star has returned to skating, and the team is hopeful their captain can return to practice sooner rather than later.

“To me, this has been the best scenario I’ve seen since him coming back, where he’s feeling better, and hopefully that translates to getting on the ice with the team,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, we don’t practice tomorrow or later in the week, might be more toward the end of the week, but we’ll see where he’s at. Maybe he even gets out for a morning skate soon.”

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Toews had also been dealing with complications from Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. Chronic Immune Response Syndrome kept the future Hockey Hall of Famer out for the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

Toews has helped the young Blackhawks squad along in a bit of a mentorship role. The 34-year-old has 14 goals and 28 points this season for a Chicago team firmly in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

“I think just by [Toews’] mannerism today, that to me is a good sign, because I know he can get frustrated, and as you guys know from the past, he gets pretty direct, and today he was good,” Richardson said.

Following a loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, the Blackhawks find themselves second last in the Western Conference. Furthermore, Chicago is the third-worst team in the league on points percentage. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks are worse in that regard.