The Chicago Blackhawks are piecing together a starting lineup for tonight’s game at Columbus
Early-season hockey in Chicago is rarely simple, especially with coach Joel Quenneville in charge. And the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup will see some changes tonight despite it producing two consecutive wins ahead of a tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Some of it is injuries, while some of it is just mixing and matching. The lineup had been pretty static since Game 2, as the Blackhawks split a home-and-home with Nashville before upending Philadelphia on Tuesday. This came after the season-opening defeat to St. Louis.
Heading into Columbus, which inexplicably hasn’t played a game in six days, the Blackhawks will be missing a forward, gaining another and making a change on defense.
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Trevor van Riemsdyk gets another chance
If you’ve read any of my stuff on Blackhawk Up, you know I’m not blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk’s biggest fan. But that doesn’t really matter, because I don’t get to pick the lineups. As such, TVR is slotting back in tonight.
The youngster had a brutal season opener against the Blues, getting exploited left and right and picking up four penalty minutes in the process. He was so bad he got deked by a falling Colton Parayko. That’s a defenseman who was on his knees deking a defenseman who was steady on his skates. Woof.
Alas, Coach Q wants to give TVR another crack at showing his mettle. This comes not long after Elliotte Friedman reported the Blackhawks were actively shopping TVR. A game against the lowly Blue Jackets (they lost their first two) could be a good way to push TVR’s stock a bit.
So who’s coming out for TVR? It sounded as though it was going to be Brian Campbell, who apparently hasn’t impressed Q so far with one assist in four games. However, dailyfaceoff.com, which is usually right on top of teams’ lineups, has this defensive setup for the Blackhawks:
Brian Campbell-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Trevor van Riemsdyk
That’s interesting. Maybe Q changed his mind. But if those pairings are accurate, Michal Kempny is the one who will be getting a night off. (If I had access to Twitter, I’d probably know the answer to this, but my account is still down after this morning’s hack.)
Kempny did have an awful turnover that led directly to Philadelphia’s final goal Tuesday. The former KHLer had mostly been good early on with the Blackhawks, but this could be one of Q’s patented “lessons.”
Another question, considering this change: Could we see someone else sit for Michal Rozsival, who has yet to play this season, during Saturday’s game against Calgary?
Marian Hossa remains injured, but Ryan Hartman is good to go
Marian Hossa, who recorded his 500th career goal Tuesday against the Flyers, was injured blocking a shot later in that game. It was described as a lower-body injury that kept Hossa from the game’s third period, though the veteran said he was fine after the game.
Q isn’t taking any chances though (Hossa wouldn’t have played all 82 regular-season games if he was completely healthy throughout anyway). That’s probably a reasonable move, although it does weaken the forward corps.
Ryan Hartman’s situation was more uncertain heading into the day, but it appears he’s good to go tonight. Q said earlier this week the Blackhawks were hoping to get Hartman back for the weekend, and that they will. Hartman missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury.
What it all means
For the forwards, here’s what’s suggested by dailyfaceoff.com:
So we just get Hartman sliding in for Hossa, which is fine. That third line should be interesting to watch, especially on the road. You get the feeling Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella may try to attack it with his better players, having last change. But that may be too logical for Torts.
On defense, it does sound as though TVR will simply slot in next to Forsling. That should be quite a challenge for the latter, especially if TVR is as bad tonight as he was in the opener. Forsling has proven adept at being able to skate and pass his way out of trouble. He’ll have plenty of chances to do both if TVR muffs another game.