SAN JOSE Niklas Hjalmarsson already had the flu and also has an upper-body injury. And he and Steve Montador are out for the next two games with their respective upper-body injuries.
Hjalmarsson was indeed sick with the flu the past two days. But on Friday morning coach Joel Quenneville said the Swedish defenseman will miss the next two games with an undisclosed injury. He and Montador, who was placed on injured reserve today (retroactive to Tuesday) are headed back to Chicago as the Blackhawks prepare to play the San Jose Sharks tonight and the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow.
Regarding Hjalmarssons illnessinjury status, Quenneville would only say, things changed. Both (Montador and Hjalmarsson) are upper body, day to day.
Sami Lepisto and Dylan Olsen, recalled this morning, will play tonight against the Sharks. Olsen played two games with the Blackhawks in early January. This will be Lepistos first game since Jan. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers.
He can give us some defensive consistency and hes got some offense as well to back it up, Quenneville said. When you have eight D, sometimes have to make some tough decisions. I was telling Sami the other day: Be patient, things can change quickly. And here he is.
Lepisto is understandably eager to get back into the lineup; he said teammates have helped him stay positive.
Theres a good feeling in this locker room, he said. You have to keep yourself positive; but when youre around guys who are having fun it helps a lot. It doesnt help if youre frustrated every day. It just makes your year even longer.
Corey Crawford gets the start for the Blackhawks. Antti Niemi is in for the Sharks.
The Blackhawks' coaching staff will be intact for the 2016-17 season.
Two weeks after Patrick Roy abruptly resigned as head coach, the Colorado Avalanche officially picked Jared Bednar to be his replacement over Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, who was among the favorites for the coaching vacancy.
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Bednar has no National Hockey League coaching experience, but did guide the Columbus Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate to a 15-2 postseason record last season en route to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship.
Retaining Dineen is good news for the Blackhawks, who start training camp next month, but it goes without saying that Dineen is certainly deserving of a second crack at a head coaching position in the near future.
Dineen, Mike Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville will enter their third season together after helping the Blackhawks capture a Stanley Cup in their first year as a group in 2015.
Jonathan Toews was named alternate captain of Team Canada on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
Sidney Crosby was named Team Canada’s captain. Crosby, who claimed his second Stanley Cup in June, was also Team Canada’s captain en route to the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
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Toews, who has been the Blackhawks’ captain since the 2008-09 season, was also alternate captain of Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens will serve as Team Canada’s other alternate captain.
Duncan Keith will not be part of the Blackhawks’ World Cup of Hockey contingent after all.
Keith will focus on improving his health rather than play for Team Canada in the tournament, which takes place next month in Toronto. The Blackhawks released a statement regarding Keith on Wednesday afternoon.
"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in the statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."
Keith had surgery on that knee last October and was sidelined about one month.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will take Keith’s place.