The Blackhawks hit a few speed bumps on Friday after a relatively smooth start to its 2021 training camp on Thursday.
The obstacles arose before practice even started, with the team announcing that goaltender Kevin Lankinen and forward Mike Hardman would not be on the ice:
MEDICAL UPDATE: Forward Mike Hardman and goaltender Kevin Lankinen will not practice (COVID-19 Protocol). #Blackhawks— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) September 24, 2021
The news comes one day after general manager/president of hockey operations said the team was 100 percent vaccinated. As a reminder, being in COVID protocol does not necessarily mean a player has tested positive for COVID-19. However, the fact that the team is fully vaccinated suggests that the absences for Hardman and Lankinen will be closer to a couple of days instead of a couple of weeks. Scott Powers of The Athletic offered some reminders on the potential explanations of why Hardman and Lankinen were unavailable for Friday’s practice:
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
Here’s what the line combinations looked like on Friday:
Blackhawks lines:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) September 24, 2021
After practice, two of the Blackhawks newest faces met with the media. Up first was defenseman Seth Jones, who talked about his acclimation to Chicago and his chosen uniform number:
Seth Jones: “I feel pretty comfortable.” Says he’s been watching video every day all summer to “get everything down” with the Hawks’ system. pic.twitter.com/ASiQxYLL1d— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) September 24, 2021
Seth Jones said the Blackhawks were a “little hesitant” to give him #4 because of Hjalmarsson, but let him have it because he signed long-term.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) September 24, 2021
New goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury followed, discussing a budding practice rivalry with Patrick Kane:
MAF on Kane celebrating a goal today: "I like that. It'll make me better and hopefully it'll help him keep working on ... what he wants to do, (which is) to score goals. We can push each other. That's going to help us out.— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) September 24, 2021
"And when I save them then I'll let him know too."
Chicago practices again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. before a scheduled day off on Sunday. The first preseason game is Wednesday night at the United Center against the Detroit Red Wings.