One of the most looked forward players to arrive in Chicago this fall will not be seeing any preseason action this year, because Artemi Panarin has been sidelined by an upper body injury since the Chicago Blackhawks were on the campus of Notre Dame.
Many have described Panarin as the Russian version of Patrick Kane, and I for one have been excited all summer to see what he can do on the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks, and if he would be able to fill the scoring hole left from the Patrick Sharp trade to the Dallas Stars.
For a player that has never played in real live action in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey before I am kind of nervous that he will get buried like Brandon Pirri did when he was injured during training camp a few years back, and didn’t make the opening night roster. It’s seems like the Joel Quenneville and the staff are way higher on Panarin then they were on Pirri after the comments made after practice today.
That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell, the Blackhawks like what they have seen from Panarin in practice at training camp and on video, but they aren’t totally sure what they have until he’s playing in real game action. This is has to be one of the biggest wild cards on the roster outside of Marko Dano.
The Blackhawks will be looking to replace a lot of scoring from the departed Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, and if the newcomers to the roster can carry some of that scoring, the Blackhawks could be in for another great season. If Panarin and Dano aren’t as advertised this could be a disappointing Cup defense.
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One thing the injury has done is put Coach Q’s preseason line blender in full puree mode which makes for some interesting line combo’s at practice.
Andrew Shaw had a tough time handling Teuvo Teravainen passes last year so I don’t see him as a first line wing. The question is does Dano get to play with the Hall of Famers on the top line while Panarin joins Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane or does he sink down to third with Teuvo. It’s a lot of questions that can’t be answered because Panarin looks to be missing the entire preseason now.
One player that looks to be on the outs is Viktor Tikhonov who didn’t even play on the top 5 lines at practice today. He’s been Panarin’s interpreter since arriving in Chicago so were they really a package deal or will the best forwards make it to opening night?
We are only one week away from opening night and there as always are more questions than answers! What’s your biggest question a week out?
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