Blackhawks

Artem Anisimov in, Nick Schmaltz out when Blackhawks face Predators

Artem Anisimov in, Nick Schmaltz out when Blackhawks face Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Artem Anisimov will play but Nick Schmaltz will not when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Anisimov returns after missing Friday night’s game with a lower-body injury. Schmaltz made the trip to Nashville with the team but is still fighting an illness. Coach Joel Quenneville expects Schmaltz to be ready following the team’s four-day break.

Corey Crawford gets the start tonight. With Scott Darling sidelined for three weeks, it’s likely Crawford plays in every game until Darling’s return, much like Darling did when Crawford was sidelined after an appendectomy. But Quenneville wouldn’t completely rule out some playing time for Jeff Glass, who was called up from Rockford on Friday.

“We’ll see how things are, how [Crawford’s] workload is and how he’s handling it,” Quenneville said. “Sometimes there are reasons you may want to keep playing him, sometimes reasons why you say, ‘Let’s give him a break.’ It’s tough to forecast that. Performance is part of it as well but right now, it’s going to be [Crawford’s] turn and we’ll see for how long.”

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper) and Johnny Oduya skated on Saturday. Quenneville said he didn’t know how the session went but is optimistic both return for the Blackhawks’ game against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

Broadcast information:

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live stream: CSNChicago.com or NBC Sports app

Radio: WGN 720 AM

 

Chicago Blackhawks (projected)

Forward lines

Ryan Hartman -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Tomas Jurco-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen-Tanner Kero-Jordin Tootoo

 

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Michal Rozsival

 

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

 

Injuries/illness: Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (illness), Scott Darling (hand).

 

Nashville Predators (via The Tennessean)

Forward lines

Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala-Mike Fisher-Craig Smith

Colin Wilson-Calle Jarnkrok-James Neal

Cody McLeod-Vernon Fiddler-Austin Wilson

 

Defensive pairs

Roman Josi-Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm-P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin-Yannick Weber

 

Goaltender

Juuse Saros

 

Injuries/illness: Mikka Salomaki (hand).

'Road to the NHL Winter Classic' docuseries starts back on Dec. 19

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USA TODAY

'Road to the NHL Winter Classic' docuseries starts back on Dec. 19

The Road To The NHL Winter Classic™ docuseries will return to airwaves on December 19.

This year's edition will take a closer look at the Boston Bruins and the Blackhawks as they gear up for the 2019 Bridgestone Winter Classic that will take place at Notre Dame Stadium. 

This year marks the fourth time Chicago has been a part of the NHL Winter Classic and the third overall appearance for the Bruins.

The Road To The NHL Winter Classic will be a limited series and will premiere on Wednesday, December 19 on NBCSN at 10:30 CST after the conclusion of the Penguins-Capitals game. 

The limited series will finish up on January 6, with a one-hour finale episode on NBCSN. Full details on where you can watch can be found here.

The 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will take place in South Bend, Ind. on New Year's Day, at 12pm CST on NBC. 

After stint in Rockford, Blackhawks hoping Dylan Sikura is here to stay

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USA TODAY

After stint in Rockford, Blackhawks hoping Dylan Sikura is here to stay

Dylan Sikura came into the 2018-19 season with relatively high expectations. He was slotted in to play a top-six role in everyone's minds going into training camp, but as camp went on, started to get jumped on the depth chart and it was apparent that he could benefit from a stint in Rockford. So that's where he began the year.

It was a little hard to swallow for the Blackhawks, who lost another Opening Night top-nine forward after Vinnie Hinostroza was dealt to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason to clear Marian Hossa's contract off the books. It may have been a bit of a wake-up call for Sikura, who realized the transition from college hockey to the NHL wouldn't be easy.

But he took a positive attitude to Rockford after shaking off the initial shock, and that's when the development really starts.

"I'm in a lot better spot," Sikura said. "The adjustments to the pro hockey level is pretty tough and I kind of found out the hard way. But I'm going to use the experience from two years ago when I was up here and obviously the time down in Rockford and hopefully have a better jump start here.

"For me it was important to go down there with a positive mindset. Some guys go down there and they're not too happy about it. But I think it's something that's going to benefit me in the long run. I got a lot from it, improved my game, just getting adjusted to this level and hopefully it will show here."

Jeremy Colliton coached Sikura for the first month of the season when he was the IceHogs head coach. He knows what he brings to the table and what kind of progression he's been making. Colliton felt it was time to reward Sikura with a call-up after leading the team in goals (9), points (18) and shots on goal (90).

"He has played better and that’s important to reward guys when they show a progression," Colliton said. "He’s been more active away from the puck. He’s a little heavier stick, heavier in battles, maybe more confidence, too. He’s made more plays, pucks have gone in the net for him. It’s always nice as a skill player to see them go in."

Part of the reason Sikura is finally up with the Blackhawks is that he's earned a look. Another might be because of the Blackhawks' desperate need for depth scoring. It's probably a combination of both.

Sikura made his season debut on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and kept it simple. He had one shot on goal and two takeaways in 9:33 of ice time, but noticeably skated with more confidence and appeared to be more comfortable. That's a positive step.

But the one thing both sides are hoping for is that Sikura seizes the opportunity and stays here for good because the Blackhawks need to start patching up the holes, not creating more.

"Obviously there's times down there when you question yourself and you question your play or when you're going to come up and stuff like that," Sikura said. "But I think it's important to just leave that behind. You got to know you're here for a reason and when you're called you got to be able to step up to the plate."

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