At Monday morning’s optional practice, Kirby Dach took part in several team drills. Dach had been reportedly skating on his own for a few weeks, but this is the first time he has participated in drills with the rest of the Blackhawks since he had surgery to repair a fractured right wrist, an injury sustained during a World Juniors pre-tournament game on Dec. 23 against Russia.
At the time of surgery, Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said that Dach was expected to return to “hockey-related activities” in approximately 4-5 months. Dach is barely three months into the initial recovery timeline, so it’s great to see him on schedule or slightly ahead. Coach Jeremy Colliton also said that Dach would be traveling with the team on their upcoming six-game road trip, though he tempered any expectations about a return to the active lineup happening soon.
“We’ll take him just so we can keep skating him. Whenever we can get him with the group — whether the taxi squad or full group — it’s another step to him joining the team. But we’ve got a ways to go still.”
Along with Dach, Calvin de Haan (lower body) and Dylan Strome (concussion) both skated Monday. Strome hasn’t played since a Feb. 19 game against the Hurricanes and was placed on injured reserve, while de Haan missed Sunday’s game after blocking a shot during Friday’s win over the Lightning. Colliton said it was unclear when they’ll return to the lineup, but like with Dach, it’s a good sign that they’re fully involved in team-drills.
The good news kept rolling Monday as Connor Murphy, who received a match penalty for a hit to the head on Tampa defenseman Erik Cernak in Sunday’s game, will not have a call with the NHL Department of Player Safety. This was the right decision: the hit was illegal but not intentional, which — coupled with Murphy’s lack of prior disciplinary history — meant a suspension would have been unwarranted.
The Blackhawks also recalled three players from Rockford for the upcoming road trip: defenseman Nicolas Beaudin, goaltender Collin Delia and forwards Reese Johnson and Brandon Pirri. With recent injuries stacking up, it’s a good idea to have some extra bodies around.
ROSTER MOVES: Forwards Brandon Pirri and Reese Johnson and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin were re-assigned to the taxi squad from Rockford.— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 8, 2021
Goaltender Collin Delia was recalled from his conditioning assignment and Matt Tomkins was re-assigned to Rockford.@Enterprise | #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/sZ4vohKPxw
The Blackhawks next play on Tuesday against the Dallas Stars — which will also be Patrick Kane’s 1,000th NHL game.