They were only three words, but seemed to hold more importance when spoken Monday by Jonathan Toews, the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

How does he feel, physically, after sitting out the final six games of the regular season with an upper-body injury?

"Good," Toews said, pausing. "Really good."

Toews and forward Patrick Kane, who missed the final 12 games with a lower-body injury, said they're ready to take the next step in the process of getting back into game shape. They'll participate in full practices Tuesday and Wednesday, and get a morning skate Thursday at Scottrade Center prior to the start of a series against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toews, who returned to the ice for individual work this past Thursday, is anxious to get back into normal game-preparation mode.