Michal Handzus was out sick for morning skate and is unlikely to play, and Sheldon Brookbank will probably draw into the open forward spot as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars tonight at the United Center.
Handzus returned to the lineup on Nov. 23 vs. Vancouver after missing 14 games with an upper-body injury. He did practice on Monday. Brookbank, who has played some wing for the Blackhawks this season, will be on the team’s third line tonight.
Corey Crawford gets the start for the Blackhawks.
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Defenseman Michael Kostka skated on the team’s third line with Kris Versteeg and Andrew Shaw, but he is out tonight. Kostka (foot) is still on long-term injured reserve but coach Joel Quenneville said, “any day now, we’ll activate him.”
For the Stars, Tyler Seguin (concussion) is out. Kari Lehtonen is the likely starter in goal.
Meanwhile, Patrick Kane was honored for his stellar November, as the NHL named him the No. 1 star for that month. Kane had nine goals — four of which were game-winners — and 19 points in November, which included a career-best 12-game point streak from Nov. 3-27.
“He’s had a great start to the season and his November was outstanding,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It seems like he’s had the puck more than in the past. He’s a threat off the rush and in the zone, and it seems like every time he hits the ice he has the puck, and that’s a good thing.”
Kane said his great month could be a byproduct of the Blackhawks’ overall team game, which has flourished recently.
“We’ve seen that before. It seems like the best teams, the players on teams that are doing well get recognized a little more,” he said. “So, maybe that’s the case, I guess.”