Dave Bolland (upper body) and Ben Smith (concussion) are questionable for the weekend as the Chicago Blackhawks prepare for their season opener Friday night against the Dallas Stars.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Bolland tried to skate after practice on Wednesday but he wasn't quite ready. Bolland was hurt last Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. And while Michael Frolik centered that checking line with Bryan Bickell and Rostislav Olesz the past two days, Quenneville said Bolland's return still seems imminent.
"Bolley gives you that reliable center who can play against top guys in a shut-down role, but I still think (that line with Bolland) isn't that far away from getting back together again," Quenneville said. "Hopefully we'll see it this weekend."
If Bolland isn't ready, the Blackhawks could call up another center. Marcus Kruger and Brandon Pirri are two possible options.
Smith is questionable because he hasn't been cleared for contact.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks had a scare on Tuesday when Jamal Mayers went off the ice clutching his right wristhand in pain. But Mayers, who was clipped by Patrick Sharp, came back a few minutes later and finished practice.
"I'm fine," he said. "I just got hit awkwardly and I just wanted to make sure I was OK. I'm good."
Sharp said he and Mayers joked about it once they knew Mayers was OK.
"I guess all that weight training's paid off," Sharp said. "Hopefully he won't try to get me back one of these days."
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.
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(1:00) - Hawks forced to use Kane and Toews on the same line
(6:15) - Dominik Kubalik is doing well with Kane and Toews
(9:55) - Colliton doesn't have a healthy roster right now
(14:12) - What is the identity of this team?
(17:18) - Maybe the Hawks have a chance at a Wildcard spot
(20:24) - Kirby Dach is getting opportunities on the power play
(23:48) - How will the Hawks play vs the Panthers and Joel Quenneville?
(26:30) - Predictions on the next few gamesListen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
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The Blackhawks announced Thursday that they have placed forward Dylan Strome on injured reserve with a right ankle injury, retroactive to Jan. 7. In a corresponding move, forward Brandon Hagel was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League and will join the team in Toronto ahead of Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs.
Strome was originally listed as "day to day" with a right ankle sprain, but it appears he needs some extra time to recover despite skating in Chicago over the past few days. The Blackhawks have three games remaining before the NHL All-Star break and, at this point, it looks unlikely Strome will return before that.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton did tell reporters in Montreal on Wednesday that Brandon Saad could join the team in Toronto depending on how he's responding to the skating sessions, but whether he plays is a different story. By making a corresponding move, the Blackhawks remain at 22 players and have room for one more spot on the 23-man roster.
Saad has been sidelined since Dec. 16 with a right ankle injury and must be activated from injured reserve whenever he's cleared to return.
Hagel has been a bright spot in Rockford this season and will likely make his NHL debut on Saturday. He leads the IceHogs with 13 goals and ranks second on the team with 21 points and 80 shots on goal in 38 games. He's a hard-working player, is physical and can finish around the net, which is something the Blackhawks could always use more of.
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