Blackhawks

Gustav Forsling gets another opportunity with Blackhawks

Gustav Forsling gets another opportunity with Blackhawks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Gustav Forsling was set to return to Chicago for the weekend, make a quick stop back at his apartment during his stay with the Rockford IceHogs. Instead, he ended up on a West Coast flight to join the Blackhawks.

"This was a great surprise," Forsling said.

Forsling was recalled on Sunday and is likely to play when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks needed to bolster their defense as they hit the road for the next six games. Michal Rozsival, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday, will likely be out 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury according to coach Joel Quenneville. Rozsival was likely hurt blocking a shot at Thursday’s practice at Johnny's Ice House West. Forsling had a goal and four assists in 11 games with the IceHogs.

Rockford coach Ted Dent, asked about Forsling not long after the young defenseman joined the IceHogs, like what Forsling was bringing.

"Just a presence of poise for us back there as far as with the puck, being able to make plays under pressure, not panic and really generate offense and join the rush off the back end," Dent said. "He's smart enough and sees the ice well where he can make plays quick, which you have to at this and the NHL level. He also realizes the AHL isn't that big of a step down. The higher end players at this level can compete in the NHL for the most part; they're just looking for the opportunity. He said it's a fast league down here, and that's good. Because we want him to play at a fast pace so when he goes back up, he’s at a high level."

Coach Joel Quenneville is looking to see if the stint in Rockford has the desired effect on Forsling's game.

"Certainly [he was] playing in all situations. The more ice time you get the better you feel. The more situations you see your instincts get a little bit quicker. But that's what our intensions were, to get him playing and feeling all situations, and we trust he can do the same up here as well," Quenneville said. "He has a lot of upside to his game that we want to see and hopefully we get to see it quickly here."

Briefly

  • The Blackhawks' all-stars (Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane) did not practice on Monday but all are expected to play Tuesday against the Sharks.
  • Marcus Kruger and Artem Anisimov missed Monday's practice due to illness. Quenneville said he's not sure on the forwards' status for Tuesday's game.

If Brent Seabrook returns, where does he fit in Blackhawks' postseason lineup?

If Brent Seabrook returns, where does he fit in Blackhawks' postseason lineup?

According to a report from The Athletic on Saturday, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is making a run at returning for the team's July 13 training camp and the NHL's 24-team playoff format beginning August 1.

At the start of the league's postseason, the Hawks are slated to take on the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series. 

In taking on the league's top two leaders in points at the time of the NHL pause on March 11 (Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid), the Hawks will take all the help on D they can get.

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Seabrook certainly has the experience of playing against and trying to shut down the NHL's best players on big stages and in big series during the Chicago's long Cup runs.

If he's fully recovered from his right shoulder and left and right hip surgeries, he could be a lot more mobile as well. 

Where the veteran defenseman plugs into the lineup largely depends on how Calvin de Haan progresses.

de Haan, who underwent right shoulder surgery in December, joined the Blackhawks for small group skates and off-ice workouts on Thursday and is expected to be ready for camp too.

If all goes well for de Haan and he's available for the series, along with Seabrook, you could expect to see the two together as the Hawks' second pairing, where they logged time before their surgeries.

Rookie Adam Boqvist had been playing on the right of Duncan Keith for a while before the pause. Seabrook and Olli Maata didn't complement each other very well when paired together, but Seabrook and de Haan were a sound unit earlier in the season.

So here's how the D pairings could look against the Oilers:

Keith-Boqvist
de Haan-Seabrook
Maatta-Murphy

Youngster Lucas Carlsson could also be in on D with a strong showing leading up to the pause and Slater Koekkoek had some noticeable games on the Hawks' blue line as well this season. 

Percentage of NHL's COVID-19 positive test results remains steady

Percentage of NHL's COVID-19 positive test results remains steady

On Monday, the NHL provided the results from the latest COVID-19 tests it administered. 

In total, 396 players (slightly more than half the ones participating in NHL's 24-team playoff format) that have returned to practice or training facilities have been tested for COVID-19 through over 2,900 tests.

As of Monday, the total tests have resulted in 23 returning confirmed positive cases for the virus. 

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In the release, the NHL also stated that since Phase 2 began on June 8 the league is aware of 12 additional players testing positive outside of the Phase 2 protocol, who are said to be self-isolating and following CDC and Health Canada guidelines. 

The numbers showed a 5.8 percent infection rate out of the tests given both inside and outside of group practices, roughly the same as last week despite an additional 1,400-plus tests taken over the past week.