EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has the flu and did not practice Friday at the Toyota Sports Center.
However, coach Joel Quenneville said the team is hopeful Toews will be able to play in the season opener Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center (3 p.m. ET, NBC).
"I think he's making some progress today so we're hoping that he should be ready," Quenneville said.
Asked how hopeful he is, Quenneville responded, "There is some good enough progress today that we anticipate him playing."
Quenneville said Toews contracted the flu Thursday night, after the team arrived in Los Angeles.
If Toews can't play Saturday, there is a chance 20-year-old rookie Brandon Saad will take his place in the lineup. Saad was practicing in Toews' spot as the center between Marian Hossa and Daniel Carcillo.
Saad played in two games last season for the Blackhawks and had no points. He has 20 points in 31 games with the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League this season and was named the AHL's Player of the Week for Jan. 6-13.
Asked if Saad would play if Toews can't, Quenneville said, "That's something we haven't even talked about yet. We hope we don't have to go to plan B."
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Senior Writer
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