Blackhawks

When will Kirby Dach make his NHL debut with Blackhawks?

When will Kirby Dach make his NHL debut with Blackhawks?

Kirby Dach has been sidelined with a concussion since Sept. 10, but he's been practicing with the team for a couple weeks now and is inching closer to making his NHL debut. But when will that come?

The Blackhawks have made it clear that their No. 3 overall pick won't return until he's 100 percent, but he doesn't appear to be physically restricted at this point. It's really about getting him into game shape and feeling sharp enough to play at the highest level.

"I think we would like to get him up to speed a little more, get him back home here," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's practice. "Today was a good full practice for him. It's tough over there [in Europe]. We did practice, [but] it wasn't the high intensity, at least all the days that we would like to get him back up to [speed]. We want to give him the best opportunity to step right in and help us."

That opportunity isn't likely to come in Thursday's home opener against the San Jose Sharks, which Colliton hinted at on Monday. But with seven consecutive home games on the slate, you have to figure Dach will appear in one sooner than later.

"You don't really want to be sitting out this long and be hurt," Dach said. "But at the same time it's an uncontrollable. I just got to do what I can do get back in the lineup and focus from that standpoint."

After Thursday's game, the Blackhawks host Winnipeg on Saturday, Edmonton on Monday, Oct. 14 and then have a three-day break before welcoming Columbus to town on Friday, Oct. 18. It would be surprising if the Blue Jackets game passed and Dach still found himself waiting to get in.

"Training camp would have been a perfect opportunity for him to slowly ramp up and get used to the level that he's going to need to be at to help us," Colliton said. "So we're just trying to make the best of it as far as the practice reps but also the reps after practice, doing 1-on-1s, doing battles and challenging him defensively. When you miss that much time, that sharpness that you need to succeed, we want to make sure he has it."

Dach, respectfully, left a possible return date up to the team, but sounded like someone just waiting for the green light. 

"I feel pretty good," Dach said. "I mean it's obviously not my decision to say if I want to be out there with the guys playing in games, but it's my job to force the hand of the coaching staff, the management to make that decision hard. So I've just got to keep coming to the rink every day and work hard."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Andrew Shaw trying to find balance between toeing the line and not crossing it for Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw trying to find balance between toeing the line and not crossing it for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks brought Andrew Shaw back to Chicago because they lacked some bite to their game. He's already meeting expectations in the physicality department, leading the team with 23 hits.

But the other part of his game the Blackhawks have to live with is the amount of penalties he takes. Through six games this season, Shaw has taken at least one penalty in five of them and is tied for third among all NHL skaters with six minors. The only two skaters above him are guys who have played in two and four more games, respectively.

Because he plays on the edge, Shaw will occasionally cross it and he's trying to find that balance between toeing the line and not stepping over it.

"I find if I'm not playing on the edge, I'm not playing great," Shaw said. "I need to play physical. Even in preseason, I was just finishing checks — clean, shoulder-to-shoulder — and was getting penalty after penalty. Hockey still is a physical game. There's still hitting; it's still legal. So I'm going to go out there and play hard, make it hard on my opponents, make it hard on them physically, do what I do. Not going to change who I am now. I'm an old dog."

Shaw's reputation may also contribute to the matter. He's racked up more than 600 penalty minutes in his NHL career, including postseason, and the officials might be keeping a closer eye on him when he's on the ice.

"It's something he's got to be aware of, but I also think he's got a bullseye on him," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "If I go back through all the penalties he's taken, he probably earned a couple and he probably earned them five years ago. That's something he's got to deal with. We want him to play hard. I think we can handle the ones where he's running people over. We'll kill those off. Obviously the stick penalties and stuff we don't want. But he's playing hard for the team. That's a good thing."

Said Shaw: "The referees, no matter the history of the player, should call the game as it is. If there's a penalty, call a penalty. If there's not a penalty, you let it go. I mean, yeah, I might have been too vocal in my younger days. But the past three years I've been trying to clean it up a little bit. I just take my penalties when I get 'em. But I must have dug myself a really deep hole. Just trying to climb out of it since."

Still, Shaw knows he has to be smarter about the timing of his penalties and where they're happening. The ones that occur in the offensive zone are the penalties that must be eradicated from his game. The ones he earns from battling between the whistles and sticking up for his teammates, the Blackhawks can live with those.

"Obviously I don't want to take penalties, I don't want to put my team down," Shaw said. "I also don't agree with all of the ones I got. I think I got the short end of the stick on a lot of them. Bite my tongue, go to the box. Our PK's been working hard and competing and killing some penalties. Hopefully they start going my way, I guess."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights

robin_lehner_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center on Tuesday, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his third start of the season.

Lehner is coming off a game in which he stopped 37 of 39 shots for a save percentage of .949, which earned him the No. 3 star of the game in a 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. He was fantastic. 

Lehner is 1-0-1 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in two starts this season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.