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Morning Skate Update: Kane returns; Davidson addresses media

After missing the last three games, Kane will be back playing Blackhawks hockey Saturday.

Seattle Kraken v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

A few news and notes from the morning skate ahead of Saturday’s Chicago Blackhawks game against the surging Seattle Kraken.

As was expected after Lukas Reichel’s re-assignment to the Rockford IceHogs, Patrick Kane was at the morning skate and will be returning to the Blackhawks lineup.

Kane appears very exciting to be playing hockey again:

Other than Kane replacing Reichel on the top line, there weren’t any other changes to the lineup that played against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. This includes Petr Mrazek getting the start in net, though it’s unknown if his backup will be Alex Stalock or Jaxson Stauber, both of whom were practicing with the Blackhawks.

In other injury news, Jarred Tinordi continued to participate in practices Saturday morning, but he’s not ready for game action yet. His expected return is around or after the 2023 NHL All-Star weekend which takes place Feb. 3-4.

After the morning skate, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson took some time to talk to journalists about two of the most pressing topics at the moment: the decision to send Reichel back to Rockford and an update on the Kane/Toews trade-front.

Davison rolled out the oft-used reason of having Reichel play “meaningful” minutes in Rockford. This makes sense only slightly because while Reichel did only play 12:31 against Colorado, he could have been given more NHL ice time if it’s what the organization wanted. The second part of Davidson’s reasoning is more understandable: Reichel will fare better with the IceHogs, who are a playoff team, versus the Blackhawks, who very much are not.

As for the future of Kane and Toews, Davidson wasn’t able to share: the Blackhawks haven’t met with the dynamic duo yet but will in the near future, and otherwise there haven’t been any major discussions with other teams about trades. The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline is March 3 this year.

The full video of Davidson’s discussion post-practice can be viewed here:

For Seattle, Martin Jones is the expected starter in net tonight — not surprising as he’s fresh off his back-to-back shutouts against the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Kraken lines were similar to when they played the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Ryan Donato was skating on the second-line in place of Jaden Schwartz, the latter of whom is a game-time decision. Connor Geekie slotted in as fourth-line center in place of Donato.

As mentioned in the game preview, the Kraken is a team that scores by committee, especially during their current seven-game win streak.

Projected Lines

Blackhawks

Kurashev — Domi — Kane

T. Johnson — Toews — Raddysh

Seney — Dickinson — Athanasiou

Blackwell — Lafferty — R. Johnson

McCabe — S. Jones

J. Johnson — Murphy

Phillips — C. Jones

Mrazek

Stauber

Kraken

Burakovsky — Beniers — Eberle

Schwartz/Donato — Wennberg — McCann

Tolvanen — Gourde— Bjorkstrand

Tanev — Geekie — Sprong

Larsson — Dunn

Oleksiak — Schultz

Soucy— Borgen

Jones

Grubauer