Dave Bolland (upper body) and Ben Smith (concussion) are questionable for the weekend as the Chicago Blackhawks prepare for their season opener Friday night against the Dallas Stars.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Bolland tried to skate after practice on Wednesday but he wasn't quite ready. Bolland was hurt last Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. And while Michael Frolik centered that checking line with Bryan Bickell and Rostislav Olesz the past two days, Quenneville said Bolland's return still seems imminent.
"Bolley gives you that reliable center who can play against top guys in a shut-down role, but I still think (that line with Bolland) isn't that far away from getting back together again," Quenneville said. "Hopefully we'll see it this weekend."
If Bolland isn't ready, the Blackhawks could call up another center. Marcus Kruger and Brandon Pirri are two possible options.
Smith is questionable because he hasn't been cleared for contact.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks had a scare on Tuesday when Jamal Mayers went off the ice clutching his right wristhand in pain. But Mayers, who was clipped by Patrick Sharp, came back a few minutes later and finished practice.
"I'm fine," he said. "I just got hit awkwardly and I just wanted to make sure I was OK. I'm good."
Sharp said he and Mayers joked about it once they knew Mayers was OK.
"I guess all that weight training's paid off," Sharp said. "Hopefully he won't try to get me back one of these days."
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.
Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.
Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.
“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”
Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.
The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.
With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.
A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.
A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.
Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.
Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.