Chicago Blackhawks' injured ranks add Anisimov, Panarin

Artem Anisimov, who was still being evaluated after the Blackhawks practiced at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Thursday, will likely not play Friday or Saturday with what appears to be a knee injury, but he shouldn’t miss a significant amount of time.

Anisimov was injured early in the second period of the Hawks’ 4-1 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and could be seen grimacing and tending to his knee on the bench. He jumped on the ice to take his next shift but went to the dressing room after flexing the knee a couple times.

Nick Schmaltz, who is sick and missed Thursday’s practice, will take Anisimov’s spot on the second line during Friday’s game against the Islanders if he’s healthy.

Artemi Panarin, being evaluated for an upper-body injury, also missed practice and is questionable. Niklas Hjalmarsson remains out with an upper-body injury.

Coach Joel Quenneville was extremely impressed with Schmaltz’s ability to pull off some highlight-reel plays while moving from Jonathan Toews’ line to centering Panarin and Patrick Kane on Wednesday.

“Fit in perfectly with those two guys and really took advantage of the situation,” Quenneville said. “The last four games he really elevated his game to a different level. Big factor again. Great to see him play like that.”

Schmaltz, who had 2 assists, extended his career-best point streak to five games. He has 15 points (5G, 10A) since Jan. 15, which is fourth among all rookies.

Rocky speaks:

The NHL has still not decided if it will send its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz left little doubt where he stands on the issue Wednesday.

“It’s 17 days of the season you’ve got to shut down,” Wirtz said. “I really don’t have an opinion on it, but I just think it’s a tough time of the year. I’d love to see if they could do it in the summer and it doesn’t disrupt their season.

“Obviously the players love it because very few of them actually go and it’s 17 days off. But I think it’s not really fair for the fans. But I’ll let the league decide that. I’m only one member of 30.”

Bowman on McNeill:

When the Blackhawks took Mark McNeill with the 30th overall pick of the 2011 draft, there was some thought he might make the team out of training camp. McNeill, however, played just one game for the Hawks and spent the rest of his time in Rockford. He was traded to Dallas on Tuesday as part of the Johnny Oduya deal.

Why did McNeill not pan out?

“That’s a great question,” said GM Stan Bowman. “That happens sometimes. … It just didn’t work out. Mark is a great kid and he’s always had a great attitude. His work ethic has been there.

“(But) when it came down to training camps and his ability to show us, he didn’t play some of his best hockey. At that point, other players made the team, and unless there’s a string of injuries he didn’t get an opportunity to show that up here.”

Slap shots:

The Hawks agreed to terms with forward Matthew Highmore, 21, on a three-year entry-level contract. He has 32 goals in 58 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. … The St. Louis Blues called up defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, older brother of the Blackhawks’ Nick Schmaltz, on Wednesday.

He said it:

“That’s the wrong question to ask. At my age, I’m happy the team is winning the hockey games. That’s all I worry about.” — Marian Hossa on if he misses playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews

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Source: Sports

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