Chicago Blackhawks’ Morning Links: A Half-Hearted Return

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25: Niklas Hjalmarsson
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25: Niklas Hjalmarsson /

Tonight’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes would have brought about the return of Niklas Hjalmarsson to Chicago, but he’s out with an injury

If there was going to be one thing to look forward to in tonight’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes, looking from a distance, it was going to be the return of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Chicago.

Naturally, the durable-yet-rugged blueliner is out with an injury, sapping what little intrigue there could have been in this game. The Blackhawks are struggling, while the Coyotes are the second-worst team in the league by points.

Still, this is an important game for the Blackhawks, simply because they need the points right now. They’re currently two points of a playoff spot with two teams to jump over. And if you think it’s too early to be point counting, consider that teams in a playoff position during the holidays, in recent memory, have had far more success trying to garner a spot at regular season’s end.

Games between the Blackhawks and Coyotes recently, even as the Coyotes have been in a rebuild, have been fairly interesting affairs. They frequently seem to involve both high scores and players getting really annoyed at each other.

Thankfully, former Coyotes captain Shane Doan isn’t around to antagonize and take pot shots at people. No doubt he would’ve been all over the likes of Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz in this game.

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The Blackhawks do have a distinct advantage heading into tonight as well. They had last night off, while the Coyotes had to play in Columbus, losing 1-0. That could certainly make them more fired up for this game, but weekend travel and back-to-back games are never a fun combo, especially on the road.

Now, let’s turn to some Chicago Blackhawks morning links.

Chicago Blackhawks morning links

— Who doesn’t like nuggets? The Rink

— Control is something the Blackhawks could use. Chicago Sun-Times

— Postgame from the AHL team. Rockford IceHogs

— Everyone against the fourth line. The Athletic

— The new collars did not make this list. The Hockey Writers

Next: Closer Look At Blackhawks' Defensive Pairings

Check back in later today as we provide a blast from the past regarding Hjalmarsson, a pregame glance at the Coyotes and live tweeting from tonight’s game, which you can catch at @Blackhawk_Up.