Trevor van Riemsdyk stood and talked for about 10 minutes, a smile on his face the entire time.
“It’s nice to be back and skating again,” said van Riemsdyk, who skated Friday for the first time since suffering a wrist injury back in early April. “It was taken away earlier in the year, you get back on the ice, you’re grateful to be back. Things could be a lot worse. I’m lucky enough to be playing the game I love.”
Now the question is, will van Riemsdyk be playing again this season after all? Once thought impossible, it’s now looking like it may happen.
The Blackhawks recalled van Riemsdyk on Friday morning and coach Joel Quenneville said “we’ll see” on if the defensemen plays at some point this postseason. Quenneville did rule out van Riemsdyk for Game 4 on Saturday night; again, van Riemsdyk hasn’t skated in more than a month and a half. But Quenneville was nevertheless keeping the door open for a potential van Riemsdyk return.
“He’s ready, cleared to participate and he’s out there doing 1-on-1 drills. We’ll see how he is,” Quenneville said. “Today’s the first day, so don’t anticipate him being in tomorrow. He’ll need a few days out there; we’ll get an evaluation and go from there.”
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It’s been an injury-marred season for van Riemsdyk, who started off well for the Blackhawks and seemed to be their solution after the Nick Leddy trade. But van Riemsdyk suffered a knee injury that sidelined him from mid-November to April. He was about to come back from that when, during a game in Rockford, he suffered his wrist injury.
“I think I was working my way back,” van Riemsdyk said of where he was just prior to his wrist injury. “I had some rust and felt slow in certain situations but it definitely felt like I was getting better. And then this happens and it’s kind of a bummer. You sulk for a little bit, you get the diagnosis and go from there.”
So now, van Riemsdyk is at the end of another healing process. There’s a chance he could play again. How effective will he be after not skating for a month? Could he still make somewhat of a difference regardless, considering the Blackhawks’ issues at fifth and sixth defensemen? Kyle Cumiskey and Kimmo Timonen are still playing limited minutes.
At the moment, van Riemsdyk at least has a chance to play again. For a guy who’s gone through so many injuries this season, just to have that chance is encouraging.
“It’s getting there,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s definitely still a process, still a little work to be done. It’s a fun challenge to take on every day. It’s kind of a 24-hour thing, taking care of it, doing all the right things. I’m just getting back to healthy as quick as I can.”