At first, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews refused to believe it. He didn't want to think he was about to join the growing list of NHL players hindered by concussions.

But Toews had to force himself. His well-being had to come first.

"It was a couple of games on the [nine-game] road trip," said Toews, detailing when his symptoms first developed. "It was so minor at first. It took some time to realize that it might be something more serious.

"When it comes down to it, you hate to admit it to yourself. You see so many guys around the league dealing with [concussions] right now, and you don't want to be one of those guys. It took some time to kind of come to grips with that and realize I had to rest and had to try to get better."

So Toews played through the symptoms at first. It wasn't until after playing against the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 19 that he accepted his ailment wasn't something he could shake off.

"To a certain level, sometimes you might feel invincible, like there's nothing that can stop you from playing," Toews said.

Toews missed his ninth game in a row Friday, when the Hawks hosted the New York Rangers. He took part in the morning skate and stayed on the ice long after it. It was the second consecutive day he skated. Toews said he felt pretty good afterward. The next step in his recovery will be taking contact.