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updated: 5/6/2014 11:24 PM

Hjalmarsson silently presses on for Blackhawks

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville loves to refer to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson as a warrior.

And why not? The guy sacrifices life and limb every time he laces up the skates.

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He sure did Sunday against Minnesota when he blocked 4 shots, including one that caught him in the neck-throat area causing him to crumple to the ice before gingerly making it back to the bench.

As usual, Hjalmarsson returned to the ice without missing a shift.

"He's a Swedish Viking," Johnny Oduya said of his defensive partner, who came into the game leading the NHL with 30 blocked shots,

On Tuesday morning, Hjalmarsson was sporting a protective device over his neck-throat area for the morning skate and afterward wasn't talking to the media -- or anyone else for that matter.

"He's fine, but he's unable to speak right now," Quenneville said of the condition that may linger for a while. "But he's ready to go."

Of course he was.

"He's a tough character," Oduya said. "He's one of a kind, obviously, and it's good for morale."

The only question heading into Game 3 was how the inability to speak would affect a quarterback on the ice like Hjalmarsson, who had 3 blocked shots through two periods Tuesday.

"Obviously you like to talk to the goalie playing it, your partner, whether he's got an out or you're the out; sometimes that can be beneficial," Quenneville said. "He's pretty aware of how to play the game and those types of situations.

"Maybe he's got to adapt a little bit, but for the most part we expect him not to change too much."

And despite the injury there is a silver lining for Hjalmarsson -- he doesn't have to talk to the media for a while.

Might other Hawks players sacrifice a puck to the throat for that honor?

"They're getting in line for that one," Quenneville said with a laugh.

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