Plague of short-term injuries puts Blackhawks in bizarre, unfortunate roster situation
The Blackhawks will be able to dress only 17 skaters for Monday’s game against the Blues, one fewer than normal.
Об этом сообщает http://yakzrobyty.com
The Blackhawks would be better off, at least roster-wise, if one of their players was more severely injured.
That’s the unfathomable but true reality of the bizarre situation the Hawks find themselves in, forced to dress only 17 skaters — 11 forwards and six defensemen, one fewer than is allowed — for Monday’s game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.
“Guys will get to play more,” Jeremy Colliton told a shocked group of reporters after Monday’s morning skate. “We haven’t played since Saturday and we don’t play again until Thursday. So of course, there are guys missing we’d love to have, but it’s no excuse.”
The predicament comes from the fact the Hawks have five regulars — forwards Dylan Strome (concussion), Drake Caggiula (concussion) and Andrew Shaw (unknown), defenseman Duncan Keith (hip) and goaltender Robin Lehner (illness) — unable to play Monday, but only Caggiula is disabled enough to be placed on long-term injured reserve.
For reference, LTIR mandates at least 24 days and 10 games missed, but temporarily removes the injured player’s salary cap hit from the books; normal IR requires just seven days missed, but doesn’t provide cap relief.
Although the Hawks have been tight against the cap all year and injuries have mounted in recent weeks, the direness of this situation arose suddenly.
The team actually had a full roster plus a healthy scratch, defenseman Ian McCoshen, for Saturday’s game in Colorado.
But suddenly on Monday, Shaw was injured — Colliton didn’t disclose the issue, but it may be a broken nose — and Lehner came down with flu symptoms. NHL rules mandate teams to dress two healthy goalies, so the Hawks had to recall AHL netminder Kevin Lankinen on an emergency basis to back up Corey Crawford.
In order to make room for Lankinen, meanwhile, they had to send McCoshen back down. Those transactions leave approximately $237,000 in cap space, per CapFriendly, and with no AHL forwards carrying a hit less than the league minimum $700,000, there’s no way to add a 12th forward.
Colliton said 17-skater games were not uncommon when he coached at the AHL level, where wins and losses matter less and parent clubs often make inconvenient recalls.
In the NHL, however, this is essentially unprecedented. CapFriendly’s Dominik Zrim said Monday he couldn’t recall it happening to any team in the past four years.
And the situation might not even resolve itself (and could actually get worse) by the next two games, a Thursday-Friday road back-to-back versus the Bruins and Devils.
Caggiula, who has been skating for more than week and practiced with the team Monday, will be eligible to return from LTIR on Thursday. But that would move his relatively sizable $1.5 million cap hit back onto the books, creating even more of a logjam.
Fortunately for the Hawks, Strome seems like a decent bet to also return Thursday. He started skating Sunday and said he now feels symptom-free after dealing with headaches that prompted his entry into concussion protocol.
“Wasn’t having too many other symptoms, so I was just trying to see if it would go away,” Strome said. “But started to get worse, so I just tried to get through it and took a few days off the ice. Feeling better now. We’ll see what happens, but I keep skating with the guys and it’s nice to be back out there.”
Still, the Hawks won’t get fully healthy again overnight, and they won’t be free of their general cap constraints for the remainder of the season.
So Monday’s disastrous scenario could easily arise again.