Seabrook back for Hawks, but now Keith's sick
The Blackhawks got Brent Seabrook back on the ice Friday after a brief illness, but Duncan Keith took his place in the sick bay and was unable to participate in practice at MB Ice Arena.
Early in the season players like Seabrook, Alex DeBrincat, Luke Johnson and Henri Jokiharju all missed practice time because they were under the weather.
Now -- after a relatively quiet period -- something may be running through the Hawks dressing room once again.
"We do the best we can," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "You don't want it to spread through the team. You put yourself in a bad situation that way. But it's natural. Every team deals with it during the year and we proceed accordingly."
So far this season, the Hawks have had players sit out six times due to illness:
• Patrick Kane missed the Oct. 31 game at Vancouver.
• Jokiharju missed two games at the end of November
• Erik Gustafsson missed two games in December.
• Seabrook didn't play during Wednesday's 4-3 OT loss vs. Nashville.
Connor Murphy said that first game back can be rough.
"You just try to push through that hump of feeling sluggish and usually you end up feeling better after a day or two," Murphy said. "That sucks for guys anytime you have to deal with that -- the puking and everything too. It just gets you so dehydrated.
"You play every odd day so you're always on the verge of breaking down. You're always breaking down, recovering every day. Sometimes it can tear you down a little more than you want to."
The Hawks host Vegas at the United Center on Saturday.
Brandon Saad is on pace for 22 goals, but the veteran forward has scored just five times in the last 25 games and was demoted to the third line when the Hawks lost to Nashville at the United Center on Wednesday. It was only the second time since Jeremy Colliton took over as coach that Saad did not start a game on the top line with Jonathan Toews.
"He's that kind of player where sometimes everything he touches turns to gold and other times it's a battle for him," Colliton said. "He can't really control that, other than when he does have a chance, make a good attempt to put the puck in a good spot and they'll go in eventually.
"What we're looking for is his control of play, his work away from the puck, his compete level, awareness defensively, skating without the puck. Those things he controls. Overall, he's been good."
The Blackhawks sent defenseman Jan Rutta and a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for D-man Slater Koekkoek and a fifth-round pick. The Lightning selected Koekkoek with the 10th overall pick of the 2012 draft. He has 1 goal in nine games with Tampa Bay this season and played in 35 games with the Lightning in 2017-18. The Winchester, Ontario native will be a restricted free agent after the season.
After a promising start to his NHL career last season, Rutta struggled with his consistency. He was assigned to Rockford on Dec. 14.
Jonathan Toews was not voted into the All-Star Game by fans as part of the league's Last Man vote. Toews and five other Central Division candidates were beaten out by Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog.
The other winners were Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl (Pacific), Buffalo's Jeff Skinner (Atlantic) and Pittsburgh D-man Kris Letang (Metro).
Scouting reportScouting report
Blackhawks vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the United Center
TV: NBCSN • Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: Vegas had its seven-game winning streak snapped Thursday in a 3-2 loss to San Jose. It was just the Golden Knights' second loss in regulation since Dec. 8. ... Five players have between 12-15 goals on the season, but the hottest scorer is former Blackhawks forward Brandon Pirri (7 goals in nine games). If he plays against the Hawks, he could not be sent back to the AHL's Chicago Wolves without clearing waivers. ... The Golden Knights' power play is just 1-for-22 over the last eight games, yet they have outscored opponents 25-12. Their team Corsi-for percentage over that span is 55.0 at even strength and they've won 57 percent of their faceoffs. ... Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-1-0 with a .944 save percentage over his last six games. ... Collin Delia will start in net for the Hawks.
Next: New Jersey Devils, 6 p.m. Monday at Prudential Center
-- John Dietz