Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz will not play tonight against Minnesota as he continues to nurse an upper-body injury he suffered Saturday in the team's second game of the season.
Schmaltz, who took part in morning skate, said there's better than a 50-50 chance he'll to play against Nashville at the United Center on Saturday.
"It's good to be back with everyone and it's getting better every day," Schmaltz said. "You've got to make sure you're 100 percent before you get back out there. If you're not, you're not going to help the team."
Schmaltz had 2 goals and an assist in the Hawks' 10-1 season-opening win over Pittsburgh, then was hurt on his first shift against Columbus when Jack Johnson delivered a hit that sent Schmaltz sprawling to the ice.
The Hawks lost at Toronto in overtime on Monday and won at Montreal on Tuesday.
"It's tough (to watch)," Schmaltz said. "Guys are still playing well. We got some big points on the road there."
Artem Anisimov is expected to center the Hawks' second line tonight against the Wild, with Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman on the wings. Kane hasn't looked nearly as strong without Schmaltz centering this line.
"Every game is kind of different," Quenneville said. "At home tonight, we'll see what the matchups (are), but we feel that line, there's enough there to get it going. And Kaner, you can still use him in other places with other lines (to have) something for the other team to be worried about as well."
Murphy back in:
After being a healthy scratch in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Montreal, defenseman Connor Murphy returns to the Hawks' lineup tonight. Cody Franson will sit.
Murphy, who carries a $3.85 million cap hit, said he wasn't expecting to be scratched but also understands it's part of the business.
"I think I've improved every game and (am) still working on things," Murphy said. "Wouldn't say there's any huge negatives.
"Obviously you still want to get better each game and I feel I still have room to improve in certain ways. But we're winning and the team's playing well, so that's probably even more important than myself."
As long as the Hawks carry eight defensemen, it will be a difficult juggling act for coach Joel Quenneville. Franson has played in just one game, and Jordan Oesterle has not suited up.
"You like the way the pairings are going and the way their effectiveness is as well," Quenneville said. "You don't like to mix with it or change too much."
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