Blackhawks adjust without Niklas Hjalmarsson

Blackhawks adjust without Niklas Hjalmarsson

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth is deeper this season. Given they’ll be missing Niklas Hjalmarsson for a few games, including the season opener, they’ll be tapping into it.

Hjalmarsson didn’t comment much on his three-game suspension, which the NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Monday afternoon. Hjalmarsson will miss the final two preseason games and the opener vs. the St. Louis Blues next week.

“I said everything I had to say yesterday in my hearing,” said Hjalmarsson, who was suspended for charging St. Louis’ Ty Rattie. “It’s always disappointing to miss one regular-season game but I’m glad Rattie’s fine. And I said everything I had to say in the hearing yesterday, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Coach Joel Quenneville also didn’t comment on the decision itself – “it’s their decision, so we’ll move on from it and deal with it,” he said. The focus was on how the Blackhawks will have to adjust in Hjalmarsson’s absence.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Blackhawks fans!]

“Over the course of a season you’ll have different challenges. We know what Hammer bring to our team and how important he is and how he plays the game,” he said. “We still have eight defensemen who can play, at certain times you’re going to get tested in that area, so it’ll be a good test right out of the gate.”

Duncan Keith, who will play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, echoed the same sentiment.

“It’s a tough loss,” Keith said. “He’s a huge part of our [defensive] corps, a huge part of our team. Going to be tough not having him in the opener,” Keith said. “You know it is what it is. Just have to move forward and someone will have to step up and everyone has to play well.”

Podcast: Eddie O discusses what went wrong for Blackhawks this season


Podcast: Eddie O discusses what went wrong for Blackhawks this season

Eddie Olczyk joins Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers to discuss what went wrong for the Blackhawks this season, and what changes could happen this summer to get the team back into the postseason.

Listen to the entire HawksTalk Podcast here:

Amazing news: Eddie Olczyk is cancer-free

Amazing news: Eddie Olczyk is cancer-free

Eddie Olczyk is cancer-free!

The beloved Blackhawks broadcaster provided an update on his health after a battle with cancer and had the best news possible.

His scan scheduled for early-April was moved up and the results brought good news:

"I'm proud to stand here before everybody and you [Pat Foley] — my partner and my friend — that all the cancer is gone," Olyczyk said. "We beat this thing, and I say 'we' because it has been a team effort. Not only from the great doctors, but from this organization, from Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Jay Blunk, Coach Q, hockey operations, these great trainers, our broadcasters, you partner for all the texts and visits daily, the National Hockey League, all my friends and my family: my brothers Ricky and Randy, my mom and dad, and of course, my four kids — Eddie, Tommy, Zandra and Nicky and my beautiful wife Diana. If it wasn't for them, there's no way I could've gotten through this.

"So I believe we all beat this and I'm so thankful for all the support and prayers. They worked. I'm proud to stand here before everybody and let them know that we beat this thing. I've had enough crying to last me a lifetime, partner, and I'm just so excited that I got that call on March 14th at 5:07 p.m. letting me know that my scans were clear. I've never heard a better phrase in my life.

"I'm now 10 days on with the rest of my life and that's the way I'm looking at it."