Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov listed as 'day-to-day' with lower-body injury

Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov listed as 'day-to-day' with lower-body injury

MONTREAL – Artem Anisimov appeared to suffer a left leg injury at the end of the first period and did not return when the Blackhawks faced the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Joel Quenneville said after the game that Anisimov is listed as "day-to-day" with what he described to be a lower-body injury.

"Not serious," Quenneville said. "So we’ll see how he does over the next two days."

The Blackhawks were defending against the Canadiens in the final seconds of the second period. Anisimov was battling for the puck in the corner when Alexander Radulov fell into Anisimov’s legs. Anisimov was down for several moments, grabbing around his left ankle before trainers had to help him off through the Zamboni tunnel.

Anisimov suffered a lower-body injury in the first period of the Blackhawks’ victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1. He missed the rest of that game as well as the Blackhawks’ game against the Islanders on March 3.

Anisimov set up Patrick Kane for Kane’s 31st goal of the season in the first period on Tuesday. The assist gave Anisimov a new career high in points (45). His previous high was 44, set in 2010-11 with the New York Rangers.

Report: Blackhawks will head to Edmonton in NHL's Return to Play plan

Report: Blackhawks will head to Edmonton in NHL's Return to Play plan

The NHL and NHL Players' Association worked diligently into the late hours on Tuesday and reportedly made significant progress as the two sides look to come to an overall agreement on the protocols and safety measures for Phase 3 and 4, transition rules and a Collective Bargaining Agreement extension. 

Nothing is official until the entire deal is ratified — the voting could take place Friday or Saturday — but, barring any last-minute breakdowns, Edmonton and Toronto are expected to be named the two hub cities for the league's 24-team Return to Play plan, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Chicago was among the four finalists from a field that started with 10 candidates.

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Vegas was a clear frontrunner from the beginning because of its appealing and tight bubble environment, but the NHL and NHLPA were forced to shift its attention elsewhere after an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

It was originally believed that the league would put each conference in opposite regions to eliminate any sort of competitive advantage, but that no longer appears to be the case. The Western Conference is expected to play in Edmonton while the Eastern Conference will go to Toronto, which means the Blackhawks will head to Edmonton if or when hockey officially returns.

Both hub cities will host exhibition games, the qualifying round and Rounds 1 and 2 of the playoffs, but only one of them will host the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final. It's unclear which city will host the latter.

Report: Blackhawks' Ian Mitchell not expected to play in NHL's 24-team playoff

Report: Blackhawks' Ian Mitchell not expected to play in NHL's 24-team playoff

When the NHL's Return To Play plan and 24-team playoff format were originally being hashed out, there was some hope that the Blackhawks could receive some much-needed defensive depth from Ian Mitchell. But that may not be the case.

Chicago could use all the help they can get in their potential best-of-5 play-in series against the Oilers under the league's format.

Mitchell, 21, was drafted by the Hawks in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He spent the past three seasons at the University of Denver, captaining the Pioneers this past year and setting a career high in goals (10) and points (32) through 36 games.

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The promising defenseman signed a three-year entry-level contract with Chicago in April after the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11.

Wednesday morning, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported players in a similar boat to Mitchell who signed during the pause, as well as unsigned draft picks, are not expected to be eligible if and when the NHL resumes to finish the 2019-20 season.