Blackhawks Notebook: Andrew Desjardins’ absence and Duncan Keith’s minutes

Blackhawks Notebook: Andrew Desjardins’ absence and Duncan Keith’s minutes

With Andrew Desjardins out 4-6 weeks, the Blackhawks will have to adjust.

The bottom six got that much younger and inexperienced without Desjardins, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on Monday. And he’ll be missed on the penalty kill, too, as the Blackhawks open their regular season schedule tomorrow against the St. Louis Blues.

“I was watching the game; it looked like he blocked a shot but he skated off and I didn’t really think anything of it. Then all of a sudden he’s out for a little bit,” Patrick Kane said following Tuesday’s practice. “You feel bad for him, especially at the start of the season. but it’s like we’ve said all the time: when other players go down we need others to step in for them. He’s great on the penalty kill, great fore-checker. We saw, especially during the cup run in 2015, how effective a player he was whether he was on the fore-check, puck possession or killing penalties.”

Marcus Kruger agreed.

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“Obviously you feel sorry for him,” he said. “We’re going to miss him for sure but other guys need to step up and take that role a little bit. Hopefully he gets back sooner rather than later.”

Relief for Keith?

Duncan Keith pronounced himself ready following his one preseason game last week. While the Blackhawks will keep an eye on Keith’s minutes as much as possible, coach Joel Quenneville said it’s unlikely he’d sit the defenseman on back-to-backs.

“I wouldn’t consider it unless there’s a problem with it,” he said. “He feels good right now and everything’s ready to go. He’s healed and fresh. I think that minute-wise, I think we’re going to watch our defense. I think it should be more balanced and shared comparably a little more equally. But obviously Dunc plays a lot. He plays in all situations. We’ll see how it is, but it seems like everybody’s going to be comfortable with everybody and eight guys can play.”


- Brandon Mashinter and Mark McNeill cleared waivers and were assigned to Rockford on Tuesday.

- Niklas Hjalmarsson will not play on Wednesday; he will be serving the final game of the three-game suspension he received during the preseason. 

NHL, NHLPA reach tentative agreement on Return to Play plan and CBA extension

NHL, NHLPA reach tentative agreement on Return to Play plan and CBA extension

One day after finalizing the protocols for Phases 3 and 4, the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Monday that they have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and Collective Bargaining Agreement extension that runs through the 2025-26 season and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar.

The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Governors as well as the NHLPA's Executive Board followed by the league-wide NHLPA membership vote, which means the process could take roughly three-to-five days to finalize. Until then, it's only unofficially official.

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The NHL released three key dates in advance of the Return to Play plan and CBA ratification:

  • July 13 — Formal training camps open
  • July 26 — Teams travel to hub cities
  • Aug. 1 — Start of qualifying round

If all goes as planned, Blackhawks training camp will open at Fifth Third Arena exactly one week from Monday before the team heads to Edmonton, where they will take on the Oilers in a five-game play-in series.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews participates in Monday's voluntary practice

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews participates in Monday's voluntary practice

On Monday, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated with teammates at the Hawks' practice facility for the first time since the NHL paused on March 11.

Teams have been allowed to hold small, voluntary group workouts since June 8 in accordance with the NHL's Return To Play plan. Blackhawks players first started showing up at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago on June 10.

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Patrick Kane and goalie Malcolm Subban, who have been regularly participating in the on and off-ice workouts since they began, were also on the ice with Toews Monday.

Related: Patrick Kane, several Blackhawks return to practice facility

Training camps are scheduled to start on July 13 for teams competing in the NHL's 24-team playoffs held in Edmonton and Toronto, the two hub cities.

The postseason, which has the Hawks facing the Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series is slated to begin August 1.