The Chicago Blackhawks have struggled to score consistently this season, outside of the second-line trio of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. So last night’s injury to Teuvo Teravainen certainly wasn’t beneficial, especially for a team that has searched far and wide to find depth scoring.
Tuevo, who suffered an upper-body injury during Wednesday’s game against Edmonton, will miss at least Friday’s game against the Calgary Flames, according to coach Joel Quenneville.
Q told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, and other media members, at today’s optional practice in Calgary that Teuvo is “OK” but that he “might miss a couple of games here.” Considering the Blackhawks have another game Saturday at Vancouver, it seems like Teuvo will miss that one as well barring a very abrupt change in his health between this weekend’s two games.
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Lazerus’ story on Teuvo’s injury describes it as “minor,” so you’d hope that rules out a concussion. Teuvo played just 5:33 against the Oilers before exiting.
This likely means the return of Andrew Desjardins to the lineup. Desjardins currently holds a team-worst minus-8 rating in 16 games. He was replaced a few games ago by Brandon Mashinter, who has proceeded to do nothing except keep his plus/minus rating from plunging that low (pretty easy when you play less than seven minutes a night).
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When asked what he hopes to see out of Desjardins in his potential return to the lineup, Q said: “I just think consistency in and around the puck, more puck possession, more influencing the puck, more directness in his play. (Be) hard to play against.” Apparently, he doesn’t think Desjardins was being aggressive enough while playing alongside Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw before his benching. Perhaps that has something to do with his initial struggles, and some players respond well in their first chance out of Q’s doghouse. Desjardins has always appeared to be a hard worker since arriving in Chicago, so hopefully he can make a more-positive impact on games moving forward.
How this shakes up the forward lines is uncertain. Today’s morning skate was optional, so we don’t have any new lines to go off. Desjardins could slot back in alongside former linemates Shaw and Kruger, but the Blackhawks would essentially be rolling a third-line checking line ahead of a fourth line … thing. With a need for depth scoring, this may not be the best option. Of course, continuing to roll Mashinter out there will partially neutralize any depth scoring the Blackhawks could hope for, so Desjardins really isn’t the main issue here. Perhaps Viktor Tikhonov also gets a chance to prove his worth, giving Mashinter a night in the press box.
What lines would you like to see the Blackhawks deploy against Calgary on Friday? Let us know in the comments section.