Andrew Desjardins can see the end in sight.
The forward has been out since the start of the season with a lower-body injury sustained late in the Blackhawks’ final preseason game. But now that he’s skating again, Desjardins is close to getting back to bolstering the Blackhawks’ forward depth – and doing the same for their penalty kill.
Desjardins is still at least several days away but has looked good in two consecutive skates. Desjardins joined teammates at Sunday’s optional skate but will not play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. Coach Joel Quenneville said they’ll get a better idea where Desjardins is, possibly next weekend.
“Conditioning’s part of it but also you gotta make sure the injury’s fully healed and you’re ready,” Quenneville said.
Desjardins said he “felt pretty good” following Sunday’s skate. He hasn’t missed many games due to injury in his career, so the wait hasn’t been easy.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate,” Desjardins said. “I think the longest stretch probably a week with a concussion a few years ago but besides that, I’ve been pretty fortunate with injuries. So again, it’s one of those things you just try to stay positive and that’s all I can do.”
Whenever Desjardins does return, it can’t help but be a positive for the Blackhawks. He’ll add depth to a thin forward group as well as to a penalty kill that has struggled since the season began. As Desjardins said, “it comes back to a team thing and one player isn’t going to change that completely.” Still, he should help some.
“You know it seems like the last few games here it’s been getting better. It’s a team thing, so I think it’s obviously a situation where the guys have been working hard and trying to correct some of the mistakes that have been occurring,” he said. “You obviously want to be out there to help out when you can.”
Artem Anisimov hasn’t fared so well in faceoffs so far this season, so he did some work with development coach Yanic Perreault earlier this week.
“We just talk about what I need to do and we just go over two or three things I need to focus on,” Anisimov said on Sunday. “I just tried to focus in the last game.”
Anisimov went 8-for-16 on faceoffs in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Relating to the Cubs
The Cubs are down 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians heading into Game 5 of the World Series tonight. Coach Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks are familiar with overcoming that deficit – they were down 3-1 before coming back to beat the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals. Quenneville said the focus has to be solely on this game.
“Get the momentum back. [You have] home field tonight, just try to make a break,” he said. “Look at the small picture and get that excitement. They’ve had a great season; just win one game, get it back.”