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Blackhawks Bits: Reichel placed in concussion protocol; Kurashev assigned; Slavin recalled

Some news and notes from Monday night and Tuesday morning’s practice.

Photo by Todd Reicher

A large roundup of Chicago Blackhawks news for Tuesday afternoon.

First, on Monday evening, the Blackhawks assigned Philipp Kurashev to Rockford and called up Josiah Slavin to replace him.

Kurashev had just five assists in 19 NHL games this season, saw his ice time fluctuate over the last several games, and was recently a healthy scratch. Slavin is tied for third on the IceHogs with 8 points (4 G, 4 A) in 15 games and has 15 points (7 G, 8 A) in his first 30 AHL games.

Speaking of Rockford, the IceHogs announced injuries to a few players Tuesday morning, including top forward prospect Lukas Reichel.

Reichel is in concussion protocol and no timeline was given beyond that he would be unavailable for Wednesday night’s game. He sustained the injury after a bad hit from behind that sent him into the boards head-first during Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Admirals.

Also, forward Brett Connolly is out with a right leg injury and defenseman Michael Krutil is out with a hand injury. Both are expected to miss 1-2 weeks.

At Blackhawks practice on Tuesday, the team spent time on some offense-focused drills, including one about deflections and rebounds after defender shots. This makes sense, considering the Blackhawks have primary form of offense lately has been through getting point shots on net.

The lagging power play was a major focus at practice as well. Interim coach Derek King spoke to Jonathan Toews during practice about a potential role change and other ways to possibility kick start the offense with the man-advantage:

In terms of lines, Dylan Strome replaced the recently demoted Kurashev on the second line and Slavin slotted in on the fourth line during line rushes. The other two lines remained unchanged from Sunday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

King stated the obvious about Strome’s usage:

Why King ever put Strome in on the fourth line knowing this is a mystery, especially considering former coach Jeremy Colliton already went through that rotation:

Slavin gave a little scouting report on himself too — and so did his brother, Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin:

Defensive pairings remained the same from Sunday’s game, excluding that Calvin de Haan was missing — he had a maintenance day due to lower back soreness.

And last in practice news, the Marc-André Fleury and Patrick Kane rivalry continues:

The Blackhawks will practice again at Fifth Third Arena Wednesday at 11 am.

Also, from a league-wide perspective, the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases has led the NHL to take precautionary measures to ensure more games aren’t missed. In the last few weeks, both the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders have had games postponed by a high number of COVID cases within each team:

In other prospect news, USA Hockey released its training camp roster for the 2022 World Juniors, with four Blackhawks prospects on the list: goaltender Drew Commesso, forward Landon Slaggert and defensemen Wyatt Kaiser and Connor Kelley.

And, finally, the jerseys that the players wore during Sunday’s pregame skate are available for auction, with proceeds going to the Blackhawks Foundation: