When Dennis Gilbert was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs after the Blackhawks season opener in Prague, all signs pointed to either Connor Murphy or Calvin de Haan, both of whom are dealing with groin injuries, being ready to go for the home opener tonight.
With de Haan still receiving treatment and Murphy practicing on Monday, all signs pointed to the latter option.
Of course, head coach Jeremy Colliton had to give the typical hockey answer when asked about Murphy’s status after Wednesday’s practice.
The situation was finally clarified this morning when Colliton announced that Murphy would indeed be making his season debut in tonight’s home opener against the San Jose Sharks.
Murphy will be a welcome addition to the blue line, as his stay-at-home mentality and overall positional awareness are sure to provide the Blackhawks with a bit more structure in their own zone. In the season-opening loss to the Flyers, the second pair of Brent Seabrook and Olli Maatta looked to be the only grouping providing that characteristic.
Murphy has been skating on the third pair with Slater Koekkoek in practice this week, so expect that to continue tonight.
With Murphy’s return, we are one step closer to seeing the Hawks blue line at full strength. The next step will be getting Calvin de Haan healthy enough to skate in his first game donning the Indianhead.
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