Kane reaches out to Schmaltz after Coyotes center goes down for season

 
 
Updated 1/9/2019 10:46 PM
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  • Chicago Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz, left, celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chicago.

    Chicago Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz, left, celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chicago. Associated Press

When Patrick Kane heard that Nick Schmaltz was going to miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury, the Blackhawks' superstar picked up the phone to check in on his good friend.

"I talked to him yesterday a little bit," Kane said before the Blackhawks hosted Nashville on Wednesday. "Feel bad for him for sure."

Schmaltz, who was traded by the Hawks to Arizona for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini on Nov. 25, was hurt during the Coyotes' loss to Vegas on Dec. 30. He was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 4 and was considered week-to-week, but Arizona on Tuesday announced Schmaltz would not play again this season.

After notching just 2 goals and 9 assists in 23 games with the Hawks, Schmaltz had 5 goals and 9 assists in 17 games with the Coyotes.

"You never want to hear with half the season left that somebody's going to miss the rest of the season," Kane said. "Hopefully he can come back stronger and get everything figured out.

"(I) just let him know that I was thinking of him. I know he was doing well there for a while with the new team. It seems like it could be a good spot for him."

Deal him in:

Collin Delia earned his sixth start in nine games when the Blackhawks hosted the Nashville Predators at the United Center on Wednesday.

Delia (.947 save percentage and 2.19 goals-against average in his five previous contests) made 33 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to fall to 3-1-2.

"He's done a great job with the opportunity he's been given," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "The circumstances of it -- you never want to see that, but that's a lot of times how young guys get a chance. Last year he did a really good job preparing himself for this. …

"He came in here with belief that he can do the job. He's shown that when he gets in. He's super calm and never looks like it's too much for him."

Slap shots:

The Hawks placed defenseman Gustav Forsling on IR (retroactive to Jan. 5) with an upper-torso injury. ... Corey Crawford walked behind coach Jeremy Colliton during Colliton's morning media session, but the Blackhawks coach gave no update on how the goalie is doing. "He's in the (concussion) protocol," Colliton said. "From my perspective, there's no difference." ... Brent Seabrook (illness) did not play against Nashville.

The Blackhawks are 9-for-25 on the power play in the last eight games. Alex DeBrincat (4 goals), Patrick Kane (3 goals) and Brandon Saad (2 goals) have accounted for all the goals.

He said it:

"I felt I was terrible today. ... I struggled with the puck in my own zone. Passes (weren't) there. I just felt off."

-- Erik Gustafsson after the Hawks' 4-3 OT loss to the Predators

He said it II:

"I told him I was rooting for the U.S. He kind of looked at me like I had three heads. But I think he understood too."

-- Patrick Kane on a conversation with Henri Jokiharju, who helped Finland win the World Junior gold medal in Vancouver last week. Finland beat the U.S. 3-2 in the title game.

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