Trevor van Riemsdyk will miss about a month with an upper-body injury he sustained in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 loss to Columbus on Friday night.
Van Riemsdyk was injured late in the second period when he slid into the net, his right arm/shoulder colliding with the post. Coach Joel Quenneville said van Riemsdyk’s injury, as of now, doesn’t require surgery. Quenneville wasn’t sure if van Riemsdyk would be put on injured reserve. The defenseman played all 82 games for the Blackhawks last season but had injury problems prior to that.
In good news, Marian Hossa is now “likely” to play Saturday night, Quenneville said. Hossa has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury he sustained on Tuesday night.
Scott Darling will get the start vs. the Maple Leafs. The Blackhawks have had an up-and-down start to the season. Once again, their penalty kill hasn’t helped. It allowed two more goals to the Blue Jackets and has now allowed 11 through the first five games.
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“We can’t say much about our PK right now. It’s definitely a sore spot and it’s almost like let’s look at it as a fresh beginning and look at trying to get through one kill, and the first 20 seconds get through that rotation,” Quenneville said. “Let’s take baby steps in our approach, whether it’s a four-man pressure, denying entries or up-ice pressure, in the shooting lanes, make sure we’re clearing, all the things that go into it. It’s been tough right now and certainly we have to repair it and fix it tonight.”
Meanwhile, there’s nothing new to report on Andrew Desjardins, who suffered a lower-body injury in the Blackhawks’ preseason finale in St. Louis. Quenneville said it’ll still be a few weeks until Desjardins skates.
MAPLE LEAFS AT BLACKHAWKS
Time: 6 p.m.
Tyler Motte-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Nick Schmaltz-Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Brian Campbell
Injuries: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)
Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander-Auston Matthews-Zach Hyman
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitchell Marner
Milan Michalek-Nazem Kadri-Leo Komarov
Matt Martin-Peter Holland-Connor Brown
Morgan Rielly-Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner-Roman Polak
Matt Hunwick-Nikita Zaitsev
As if the possibility of clinching their first National League pennant in 71 years didn’t create enough drama and excitement in Wrigleyville, the Cubs have sent Kyle Schwarber to the Arizona Fall League, hoping he can add another chapter to his October legend.
Schwarber earned this chance after beating every expectation in his recovery from major surgery on his left knee in April. The Cubs haven’t ruled anything in or out – and still need to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers one more time this weekend – but they want to see how he responds on Saturday with the Mesa Solar Sox and ultimately decide if he would be a viable designated-hitter option for the World Series.
Schwarber gained clearance on Monday from Dr. Daniel Cooper, the head team physician for the Dallas Cowboys who reconstructed his ACL and repaired his LCL after a devastating outfield collision during the first week of the regular season. Schwarber immediately phoned president of baseball operations Theo Epstein after the six-month checkup.
“I wasn’t expecting the call,” Epstein said. “We got news that was beyond better than we could have expected by any reasonable standard.
“He asked for a chance to do this. And with as hard as Kyle has worked and as much as this means to him – and potentially to us – we wanted to give him that opportunity.”
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Schwarber flew from Dallas to Los Angeles, where he hit in the cage at Dodger Stadium that night. As the Cubs continued with what has been a classic NL Championship Series, Schwarber hit again on Tuesday and then left for Arizona on Wednesday to ramp up his baseball activities and prove whether or not he could again be a difference-maker in October.
Schwarber, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 draft out of Indiana University, generated 16 home runs in 69 games last season and then set a franchise record with five homers in the playoffs.
The Cubs still have to deal with Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night in Game 6, and judge whether or not this layoff is too long, even for one of their best young hitters, especially against what would be a dynamic Cleveland Indians pitching staff.
But the Cubs would also never bet against Schwarber.
“We’ll see where this goes,” Epstein said. “We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We have a lot of work to do here before this becomes pertinent. But it’s a testament to how hard Kyle has worked to even be in this position where it’s a possibility.”