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Blackhawks' growing injury list becoming ‘kind of laughable'

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson has opened every media scrum the last few weeks by fielding multiple questions about his injured players. That's because his roster is decimated right now, and players are dropping left and right.

Before Sunday's game against Vancouver, the Blackhawks announced Alex Vlasic will be out due to an upper-body injury. The news came a day after Seth Jones was placed on injured reserve with a left shoulder injury.

The Blackhawks have four other players on IR, which includes Andreas Athanasiou (groin), Colin Blackwell (lower body), Jarred Tinordi (concussion protocol) and Taylor Hall, who's out for the season with an ACL injury.

The Blackhawks are also without Kevin Korchinski, who remains away from the team after the passing of his father Larry, and Corey Perry, who was released by the organization for violating the team's code of conduct policy.

This doesn't include the illnesses that have recently affected a few players, like Ryan Donato and MacKenzie Entwistle.

These aren't mostly fringe players. They're important pieces to the team, thinning out the Blackhawks' roster even more.

"I don’t even know if I want to practice anymore because guys are going down," Richardson half-joked. "I know it happens to teams at different times of the year and right now it’s us."

In Sunday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks saw another player drop. Joey Anderson didn't play in the third period because of an upper-body injury and he will be reevaluated on Monday.

The Blackhawks dodged a bullet when Connor Murphy went to the locker room with assistance after blocking a shot off his knee in the first period. He returned in the second period, but Richardson acknowledged he'll probably be sore the next day.

The hits aren't stopping.

"It's kind of laughable, honestly," said Nick Foligno, who scored two goal in the loss. "We're losing a guy every game here. But he's played great, it stinks to have him out of the lineup in this game because he was making a big difference and he gives us such depth throughout our lineup.

"But that's the reality of the game, right? You can't worry about it, you’ve got to find a way to get next man up and get one [goal] and it's too bad we couldn’t find the equalizer."

Since Nov. 27, the Blackhawks have made four AHL call-ups, and all four of them are defensemen: Louis Crevier, Isaak Phillips, Filip Roos and Wyatt Kaiser. It's gotten to the point where there are only two defensemen left with the Rockford IceHogs on NHL contracts, which means they're running out of runway.

The good news is, Tinordi skated on his own after practice on Saturday, so he could be inching closer to a return. And Blackwell, who hasn't played in a game all season, took part in warmups on Sunday as he prepares to make his return to the lineup.

It's legitimately a next-man-up mentality for the Blackhawks. Getting just one player back feels monumental at this point.

"Obviously your first thought is, we hope they're OK," said Connor Bedard, who had two assists and logged a season-high 23:16 of ice time against Vancouver. "It sucks when guys are going down but a great job by a lot of guys stepping up. We hope everyone when we see them leave that they're alright."

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