The last thing the Blackhawks need is another injury to a key player, but that's what happened in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.
Dylan Strome left in the second period after twisting his right ankle before crashing awkwardly into the boards. He immediately went to the bench and eventually made his way into the locker room for further evaluation.
Strome did not return to the game and head coach Jeremy Colliton said afterwards the team will know more on Wednesday whether he could be out for days or weeks. It's unfortunate for the Blackhawks because all four lines were starting to roll and his absence threw the rotation out of balance.
"That line's been really good for us," Colliton said of Strome's line with Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat. "You're scrambling it. Tried to use [Patrick Kane] there a little bit but then you're taking him away from the other line and just challenged our depth. I think that's been one thing that's been really good for us, we're getting contributions from all four lines and [Strome's injury] just stretched the group."
The Blackhawks are among the league leaders in man games lost this season and they're still fighting through an array of them to a handful of veterans.
Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol) and Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) are both on long-term injured reserve, along with Calvin de Haan (shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (hips/shoulder), both of whom are out for the season. Brandon Saad is also on regular injured reserve with a right ankle injury and hasn't skated since suffering his injury on Dec. 19.
"Hopefully he's back soon," Duncan Keith said of Strome. "We have a lot of injuries. A lot of teams have injuries though and they find ways. We're certainly in that situation where we need to find a way."
The good news is Robin Lehner joined the Blackhawks for morning skate on Tuesday, so he's getting closer to a return after injuring his right knee on Jan. 2 in Vancouver. But the Blackhawks have to figure out a way to continue powering through them because they fell six points out of the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference following Tuesday's loss.
"There's a lot of teams that are going through injury troubles," GM Stan Bowman said on Tuesday. "The encouraging thing is seeing how our guys have responded with having a lot of established veteran players [out]. They play a pretty big role on our team and they're all out, but our team's found a way with a different group, a different mixture here, to get some wins. That's a good sign.
"When there's a player who goes down or multiple guys get injured, you have to have guys step up and I think we've seen that over the past couple weeks. Now we need that to continue."
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