With Andrew Desjardins out 4-6 weeks, the Blackhawks will have to adjust.
The bottom six got that much younger and inexperienced without Desjardins, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on Monday. And he’ll be missed on the penalty kill, too, as the Blackhawks open their regular season schedule tomorrow against the St. Louis Blues.
“I was watching the game; it looked like he blocked a shot but he skated off and I didn’t really think anything of it. Then all of a sudden he’s out for a little bit,” Patrick Kane said following Tuesday’s practice. “You feel bad for him, especially at the start of the season. but it’s like we’ve said all the time: when other players go down we need others to step in for them. He’s great on the penalty kill, great fore-checker. We saw, especially during the cup run in 2015, how effective a player he was whether he was on the fore-check, puck possession or killing penalties.”
Marcus Kruger agreed.
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“Obviously you feel sorry for him,” he said. “We’re going to miss him for sure but other guys need to step up and take that role a little bit. Hopefully he gets back sooner rather than later.”
Relief for Keith?
Duncan Keith pronounced himself ready following his one preseason game last week. While the Blackhawks will keep an eye on Keith’s minutes as much as possible, coach Joel Quenneville said it’s unlikely he’d sit the defenseman on back-to-backs.
“I wouldn’t consider it unless there’s a problem with it,” he said. “He feels good right now and everything’s ready to go. He’s healed and fresh. I think that minute-wise, I think we’re going to watch our defense. I think it should be more balanced and shared comparably a little more equally. But obviously Dunc plays a lot. He plays in all situations. We’ll see how it is, but it seems like everybody’s going to be comfortable with everybody and eight guys can play.”
- Brandon Mashinter and Mark McNeill cleared waivers and were assigned to Rockford on Tuesday.
- Niklas Hjalmarsson will not play on Wednesday; he will be serving the final game of the three-game suspension he received during the preseason.