With Duncan Keith sidelined for several weeks, the Blackhawks placed the defenseman on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday afternoon.
The move wasn’t surprising; Keith is expected out 4-6 weeks after having surgery to repair a right knee meniscal tear. The Blackhawks, according to generalfanager.com, will receive a little more than $5 million in cap relief with Keith on LTIR.
It’s unlikely, however, that the Blackhawks will reap the financial benefits. That relief is only there during Keith’s time on LTIR, which certainly isn’t long enough to make a big move. This is not like February, when Patrick Kane was placed on LTIR with his fractured collarbone and the Blackhawks benefitted because the salary cap was going away in the postseason.
“I’m going to say not likely,” when coach Joel Quenneville was asked about using that extra cap space. “I think we’ve got our group here right now. That’s what we’re expecting to go with right now. I don’t think there’s anything really brewing as far as we’re concerned or know about.”
The Blackhawks, Quenneville said, are also not planning to call anyone up from the Rockford IceHogs at the moment. So for now, they’ll go with the defensemen and pairings that they have. Brent Seabrook and Viktor Svedberg remained together at Wednesday’s practice. Niklas Hjalmarsson was with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Trevor Daley was with David Rundblad.
Seabrook said he’s talked to Keith since his former defensive partner had his surgery.
“I talked to him last night. He said he’s feeling better. I think he was just resting and relaxing last night,” Seabrook said. “He doesn’t like missing any time. He’s one of those guys he wants to play, wants to be at the rink and wants to be around the guys. So it’s hard to be away for a bit. He’s definitely disappointed but he’ll be ready to go and be better for it.”
- Viktor Tikhonov, a healthy scratch against Columbus on Saturday, was back on the Blackhawks’ top line at Wednesday’s practice. “He hasn’t had a ton of opportunity to be in that position or to say that he’s nailed a spot here. But at the same time, he has some ability that he should be able to show us that, hey, he wants to be here, he wants to be a part of the top group and playing with those two guys,” Quenneville said. “Certainly can’t get a better opportunity.”
- Bryan Bickell was on the outside looking in on Wednesday, as he was not on any of the Blackhawks’ lines. “I thought his last game was ordinary, other than that he’s been OK,” Quenneville said.