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Morning Skate Update: Blackhawks forward lines shuffled

Chicago is apparently going to back to its lineup from the start of the season.

New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

A few news and notes from the morning skate ahead of Tuesday evening’s Chicago Blackhawks game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

First, Patrick Kane was at the morning skate Tuesday. There was no official update on his apparently minor knee injury sustained in the San Jose Sharks game on Sunday, but his inclusion at practice implies he’ll be fine for tonight’s game.

Someone who did miss practice was head coach Luke Richardson, but he’s expected to be ready to coach when the puck drops on Tuesday night. Assistant coach Derek King, who was in charge of practice and media availability, joked that Richardson simply had some “bad shrimp.”

As for lines in practice, there was a shake-up among the left wings to reset the top three lines to what they were at the beginning of the season. These were the lines during the Blackhawks most successful span of game before an injury to T. Johnson forced a shuffle.

Alex Stalock is expected to be the starter in net.

The defensive pairings stayed the same from the previous game, which means it’s likely that Ian Mitchell and Isaak Phillips will both still be in the lineup. Considering this is a rebuilding season for the Blackhawks, the inclusion of their two youngest players is good to see. King spoke briefly about the two after practice:

As for the Lightning, their lines at Monday were the same as their previous game, so those will likely hold for the game against Chicago. Former Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel has been on the top-line for Tampa for a few games now.

While most of the focus was on Tuesday’s game, some thoughts turned to the terrifying scene that played out in the NFL on Monday night when Buffalo Bills cornerback Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and was taken away in an ambulance. For Blackhawks forward Max Domi, it invoked memories of a similar event he witnessed six years ago:

Finally, in only tangential Blackhawks news, undisputed 2023 NHL draft first overall pick Connor Bedard scored an overtime goal at the World Juniors with a Kane-esque heartbreak celebration:

Projected Lines

Blackhawks

Athanasiou — Domi — Kane

T. Johnson — Toews — Raddysh

Kurashev — Dickinson — Lafferty

Katchouk — R. Johnson — Blackwell

McCabe — S. Jones

Phillips — Murphy

J. Johnson — Mitchell

Stalock

Mrazek

Lightning

Hagel — Point — Kucherov

Cirelli — Stamkos — Killorn

Colton — Paul — Maroon

Namestnikov — Bellemare — Perry

Hedman — Bogosian

Cole — Cernak

Sergachev — Perbix

Vasilevskiy/Elliott