The Chicago Blackhawks’ search for the first win of the season may be even more difficult now.
Just before Saturday’s practice, the team announced that a trio of players have been placed in COVID-19 protocol: Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson.
MEDICAL UPDATE: Forwards Ryan Carpenter and Patrick Kane and defenseman Erik Gustafsson will not practice today (Covid-19 Protocol).— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 23, 2021
As a reminder from training camp, a player being placed in COVID-19 protocol is not necessarily an indication of a positive test result:
COVID-related absences can be due to 1) a positive test which remains unconfirmed, (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals, 3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact, (4) isolation for a confirmed test and/or 5) quarantine for travel.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) September 24, 2021
The team is fully vaccinated, which could help contain these absences to a matter of days instead of weeks.
[UPDATE] Coach Jeremy Colliton did not provide any specific details during his post-practice media session, which leaves the status of all three players up in the air:
Jeremy Colliton (via Zoom, oh no!) on Kane, Carpenter and Gustafsson: "At this point, those guys are in the protocol and we don't really know day to day how it's going to develop. For the most part, it's out of our control. We'll adjust as things develop."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 23, 2021
Colliton wouldn't say if the players were asymptomatic or not. Doesn't want to to get into the details every time this comes up. "Day by day."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 23, 2021
To beef up the roster, forward Reese Johnson was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs, as first reported by former SCH site manager Brandon Cain:
#Blackhawks recalled Reese Johnson from the #IceHogs. The forward had a goal and an assist in Rockford's 6-3 loss Friday at Iowa.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) October 23, 2021
Chicago hosts Detroit (Sunday) and Toronto (Wednesday) before Rockford's next game (Thursday at Texas).
With a pair of forwards sidelined, Colliton shuffled the lines at Saturday’s practice with Tyler Johnson slotting in on the Jonathan Toews line and Dominik Kubalik at the opposite wing. Brandon Hagel joined Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat on another line, while Reese Johnson joins MacKenzie Entwistle and Jujhar Khaira on the fourth line.
#Blackhawks lines:— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) October 23, 2021
A notable omission here is youngster Philipp Kurashev, who appears to be headed for the press box for Sunday’s home game against the Detroit Red Wings.