Two defensemen continue to miss practice as the Blackhawks took to the ice for the fourth day of practice at Fifth-Third Arena on Friday after Thursday’s off day.
Neither Nikita Zadorov or Brent Seabrook returned to the team, Seabrook missing his fourth day and Zadorov his second. Both have been given the “unfit to participate” label. Carl Soderberg, who is still having immigration troubles, has still not arrived at Blackhawks camp.
Nikita Zadorov is not on the ice for practice today. He was ruled “unfit to participate” on Wednesday and the team had an off-day yesterday. #Blackhawks— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 8, 2021
On a quick shift away from the on-ice happenings, the Blackhawks released their television broadcast schedule for the season:
Here's your full Blackhawks broadcast schedule. pic.twitter.com/4v90uqTqec— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 8, 2021
In non-Chicago news, Corey Crawford has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the New Jersey Devils after missing the first five days of camp:
Hearing it will be announced shortly that Corey Crawford is taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from NJ due to personal reasons. Wish him all the best.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 8, 2021
The Dallas Stars will be missing play after six players and two staff members were tested positive for Coronavirus:
The following statement has been released by the NHL. pic.twitter.com/aJcwSMX03k— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 8, 2021
A 2021 Central Division opponent for the Blackhawks, the Stars will not play regular season hockey now until Jan. 19 and have closed their training camp. Chicago’s first game against Dallas isn’t until Feb. 7, so it’ll take several more weeks before the Blackhawks could be affected.
Watching Blackhawks highlights, Pius Suter has begun to look like a power-play net-front presence type:
The top power play unit is beginning to take shape, with Adam Boqvist assumming the quarterback role on that PP1 line:
#Blackhawks first power-play unit: Strome, Shaw, DeBrincat, Kane, Boqvist.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 8, 2021
That’s good news for the young offensive defenseman. Running the first unit with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat should increase Boqvist’s production. He didn’t see much first-unit time during his rookie season in Chicago, but correcting that issue should is ideal for the team and the player.
Andrew Shaw and Dylan Strome, meanwhile, are likely taking the place of Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach. While it might be better to eventually see more sniping on that unit from Dominik Kubalik, giving the unit Shaw and Strome enables them to have two high-danger threats and net-front presences.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation continues to take shape:
Kevin Lankinen: "My goal is to be the No. 1 goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 8, 2021
And the Kane-Strome connection continues to take root:
They’ll likely start the season together on the first line, potentially with either Alex DeBrincat or Shaw.
We also got a glimpse of Evan Barratt, who’s been carrying the “unfit to participate” label throughout training camp but was seen skating on his own after Friday’s practice.
This is Barratt’s first professional season after starring at Penn State, and the former third-round pick (90th overall) from 2017 could find his way into the Blackhawks’ lineup at some point. If not, he’ll be skating with the IceHogs once the AHL season starts in February.
For Friday’s scrimmage, these were the units:
#Blackhawks doing their second intrasquad scrimmage this morning.— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) January 8, 2021
Team Black lineup:
DeBrincat - Strome - Kane
Janmark - Kurashev - Shaw
Morrison - Entwistle - Hagel
Beaudin - Boqvist
de Haan - Mitchell
Seeler - Carlsson