It’s been three days since the Blackhawks concluded their road trip with a loss to the Panthers on Sunday afternoon, sending the team limping home despite a great showing. In Saturday’s victory, Jarred Tinordi, Andreas Athanasiou, and Taylor Hall all left for the locker room with injuries and did not return.
After a gym day Tuesday, the Blackhawks were back on the ice Wednesday morning for a practice. It was clear that a day of rest did the group some good, as two important skaters were able to return to the ice.
When Hall fell to the ice after a huge hit in Tampa Bay, he grabbed his right leg and screamed in pain in a scary-looking injury. While he was “up and walking around” in the locker room, per head coach Luke Richardson, he didn’t have an update. He wasn’t on the ice for Monday’s practice, either, casting further doubt on his outlook for the near future.
During Wednesday’s practice, Hall was back out at Fifth Third Arena in full force. He appeared on the top power-play unit and shared the second line with Lukas Reichel and Taylor Raddysh. Though he was back out there and “feeling better”, Richardson said after the practice that Hall won’t play in Thursday night’s game. He can likely be expected to play this weekend in Nashville and when the Blackhawks host the Sabres.
After undergoing sports hernia surgery in March, Blackwell was expected to miss around 12 weeks. But after a series of serious setbacks, he’s barely touched the ice since, a result that frustrated him more than anyone. He isn’t too close to being game-ready, as he hasn’t had the period of acclimation to open the season that his peers have.
Still, the Blackhawks got positive news Wednesday when Blackwell took the ice, grabbing extra reps whenever he could with the fourth line. The forward appeared in 53 games last year, logging 10 points with under 12 minutes of ice time per game. With his $1.2 million AAV contract expiring after this season, the 30-year-old doesn’t exactly fit the timeline of the Blackhawks’ rebuild, so it’s unclear as to whether he’s a part of their plans moving forward. Still, the team is thrilled to have him returning in the near future.
There was no update Wednesday on Athanasiou, who left for the locker room twice in the second period Saturday. He hasn’t been seen on the ice since, and has been described by Richardson as “week-to-week”. Getting him back would be the icing on the cake for a Blackhawks squad that is looking to finally get healthy.