The Blackhawks had one of their best nights of the young season Thursday when they traveled to Tampa Bay to kick off their annual “Moms’ Trip”. Connor Bedard had a career night with two goals and two assists, Kevin Korchinski netted his first career goal, and Chicago grabbed two points in the standings with a 5-3 win over the Lightning.
Though it was a nice victory for a team that was in need of a win, the Blackhawks suffered heavy losses on the injury front. After the first period, Jarred Tinordi did not return to the game with an undisclosed injury. Then, late in the second period, Andreas Athanasiou left for the locker room twice, not returning for the final period. Finally, Taylor Hall took a huge hit along the boards, immediately grabbing for his right leg and screaming in pain.
After the game, head coach Luke Richardson didn’t have a specific update on any of the three skaters, though he did mention Hall was “up and walking around” in the locker room. The Blackhawks had an off day Friday, so we didn’t get any injury news while the team was recovering in Florida. With a practice at Amerant Bank Arena today before tomorrow’s matchup against the Panthers, none of the three skaters were on the ice, and the status of all three became a bit clearer.
Before the practice, the team placed Tinordi on injured reserve with an oblique injury retroactive to November 9th, and he’ll miss at least seven days. Richardson mentioned that Tinordi’s injury was more “clear-cut” than others, so he’s clearly not ready to return anytime soon. The 31-year-old has played in nine games and logged one assist, with a respectable plus-minus of -1.
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In a corresponding move, Chicago recalled defenseman Isaak Phillips from Rockford. The 22-year-old has one appearance in the NHL this year and is in the final season of his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks. It’s unclear whether the team will opt for him or Nikita Zaitsev to pair with Wyatt Kaiser on the third defensive line, but given their recent unwillingness to give Zaitsev any ice time, Phillips seems like the more likely option.
Athanasiou and Hall did not have injury designations Saturday, which is promising, says Richardson. He backed the decision to not take action by mentioning that they “might be OK a little bit sooner so we might not have to use that route.” Luckily, the Blackhawks have Reese Johnson and Boris Katchouk waiting in the wings, and they’re expected to start Sunday.
After the Blackhawks finish up their road trip, the players will have a bit extra time to recover at home, as they don’t take the ice again until Thursday night.
The Blackhawks now have enough bodies to field a full lineup, but just barely. If the team can get through Sunday’s game without suffering a huge loss, they’ll have the opportunity to get a few of their stars back before they miss too much more time.