Dach practices, Colliton expects center to return at some point

  • Blackhawks center Kirby Dach practiced Monday.

    Blackhawks center Kirby Dach practiced Monday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/8/2021 2:22 PM

Injured forward Kirby Dach was on the ice for an optional practice Monday at Fifth Third Arena before the Blackhawks departed for Dallas to begin a six-game road trip.

Dach, who is on long-term injured reserve with a thumb injury he suffered in World Juniors in late December, will accompany the team. Head coach Jeremy Colliton expects Dach to play at some point this season, but no time frame was given.

 

Dach was expected to miss 4-5 months.

"He's an important player for us," Colliton said. "You saw in the second half of (last) season he was one of the reasons why we started playing better, because he was improving and taking on a larger role. Certainly in the (Edmonton playoff) bubble he was one of our most important forwards.

"It's a big positive to get him out there, and we feel encouraged we're going to get him back at some point."

Dach had 2 goals and 10 assists while averaging nearly 16 minutes of ice time in his last 21 games, then added a goal and 5 assists in the playoffs. He would immediately slot in as a top-six center, on the power play and likely on the penalty kill as well.

Murphy to play Tuesday: Connor Murphy, who was given a match penalty and ejected for hitting the Lightning's Erik Cernak Sunday, will be available for the Hawks when they play Dallas Tuesday. Cernak was practicing for Tampa Bay in Detroit. He did not return to Sunday's game.

De Haan, Strome skate: Defenseman Calvin de Haan, who missed Sunday's game against Tampa Bay with an injury, and Dylan Strome (concussion protocol) both practiced Monday. Coach Jeremy Colliton couldn't say when either might be ready to re-enter the lineup.

Roster moves: Forwards Brandon Pirri and Reese Johnson and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin were reassigned to the Hawks' taxi squad from Rockford. Goaltender Collin Delia was recalled from his conditioning assignment.

With Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban playing well, it doesn't appear Delia will get much, if any, playing time with the Hawks. "That's not a priority for us," said Jeremy Colliton. "We wanted to get him some games in Rockford so he can stay ready, but in the immediate future, I don't that's something we're looking at."

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