Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov will likely be out until the Stanley Cup Playoffs due to injury
After Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the apparent knee or ankle injury suffered by Artem Anisimov didn’t appear to be too serious, and he ruled him as day-to-day.
This afternoon, Coach Q spoke again regarding Anisimov and confirmed the forward would miss the next 3 to 4 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Last night, a photo surfaced of Anisimov talking in the hallways with former Blackhawk Andrew Shaw (now with the Habs), and it appeared Anisimov had a walking boot on his left leg that didn’t quite extend to the knee, so it’s safe to assume that it is most likely an ankle injury suffered by Anisimov.
The regular season ends on April 8 for the Chicago Blackhawks when they face the Kings in Los Angeles, which is just slightly more than the three-week timeline mentioned. If Anisimov is out for only 3 weeks, he would be looking at a return on April 5, which means he would only play in the last two regular-season games for the Blackhawks.
If we assume he is out for a month, it would put him on track to return April 12, which is when the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin.
Given the circumstances, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anisimov is done for the regular season, but there’s always the potential that he progresses more quickly than expected and the ‘Hawks can get him into the last game or two for some conditioning before jumping right into the playoffs.
On the night of his injury, Anisimov registered his 45th point in the season after he set up Patrick Kane for an early goal to give the ‘Hawks the lead against the Canadiens. Anisimov’s 45th point set a career high in points in just 63 games, while his previous career high was 44 points in 82 games back in the 2010-11 season, when he was with the New York Rangers.
If there’s any bright side at all to the injury, it’s that the ‘Hawks currently sit in a good position when it comes to the playoffs and they have the depth to deal with such an injury for the time being.
Rookie Nick Schmaltz will most likely step in to center the second line while newly signed forward John Hayden will make his debut Thursday against Ottawa and take over on the top line in place of Schmaltz.
As it stands, the Blackhawks are going to make the playoffs and they are all but guaranteed to finish at least second in the Central Division thanks to the commanding lead they have over both Nashville and St. Louis. Currently, the Blackhawks sit at 93 points which is good for a one-point lead over Minnesota for the division, though Minnesota does have a game in hand.
While staying healthy and playing with a full team for the Blackhawks down the stretch would have been ideal, the timing of this injury certainly could have been a lot worse. Fortunately, the Blackhawks are in a position where they can deal with this type of injury and still get ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in less than a month.