Things started off well for the Chicago Blackhawks at the Traverse City prospect tournament, but they have plenty of new concerns to worry about after their final game on Tuesday afternoon. The Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild in the seventh-place game, but it came with a severe price as Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, Philipp Kurashev and Mikael Hakkarainen all left with injuries.
Traverse City Tournament Turns Ugly in Finale
The Blackhawks began their tournament on Friday night with a 5-4 overtime win over the hosting Detroit Red Wings. Dach scored in regulation before Boqvist won the game in overtime. Things went downhill with back-to-back losses, in games in which they led early, against the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.
Dach started Tuesday’s game off on the right foot with a goal, early in the first period, to give the Blackhawks a lead. Later in the frame, Dach was drilled into the end boards, from behind, by Darian Pilon of the Wild. He was able to skate off the ice under his own power, but he went right to the locker room and did not return.
According to Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC 5 Chicago, Dach’s injury was not serious and he was held out of the final two periods for precautionary reasons. He was spotted watching the rest of the game, in his suit, at the glass.
In the second period, Boqvist, who had an assist on Dach’s first-period goal, left the game with an apparent injury as well. The 2018 first-round draft pick did not return.
The hits literally kept coming, as Kurashev was run over from behind by Damien Giroux and needed help getting back to the locker with an apparent leg injury. Giroux was given a five-minute major for boarding and a match penalty for his actions.
Moments later, Hakkarainen, who had a really nice tournament with a couple of goals, also exited the ice and missed the rest of the contest.
The Blackhawks started the third period with just 14 skaters but added three more goals in a 6-1 drubbing of the Wild. Dach, Riley McKay, MacKenzie Entwistle, Tim Soderlund, Dylan McLaughlin and Michal Teply all scored with Aleix Gravel picking up the win in net.
Positive News Heading into Training Camp
Rockford IceHogs general manager Mark Bernard met with the media after the game and had some relatively good news. Per Bernard, all the injuries sustained by Dach, Boqvist, Kurashev and Hakkarainen are considered to be “minor” by the team. He was uncertain if they would be available for the start of Blackhawks’ training camp on Friday, but was optimistic that they would be. Out of all of the injuries, Kurashev’s looked to be the most serious as he struggled to get off the ice.
Boqvist and Dach are expected to push for NHL roster spots during camp so hopefully, these injuries do not derail their chances. Kurashev continues to progress and could be a nice contributor with the IceHogs this season, who he made his professional debut with at the end of last season. Hakkarainen is another prospect who could become a factor on the AHL roster this fall.
The Blackhawks announced their training camp roster on Tuesday afternoon. They are bringing 55 players (32 forwards, 17 defensemen and six goaltenders) to try and make the 23-man roster. Camp will open on Friday, Sept. 13, before hosting their annual Training Camp Festival at the United Center on Sunday, Sept. 15.
They will play in a total of seven exhibition games, six in North America and one overseas. Their first preseason game will be on Monday, Sept. 16 at the Washington Capitals. They will then play back-to-back games against the Red Wings on Sept. 17 and 18, with Tuesday’s game in the Motor City and Wednesday’s game back home. From there, they host the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Sept. 21 and the Capitals on Wednesday, Sept. 25 before heading to Boston on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The team will head to Europe where they will play a split-squad game against the Eisbären Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. After a couple of days off, the Blackhawks will open their season against the Philadelphia Flyers, in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday, Oct. 4.
The NHL rewarded the Blackhawks for starting the season in Europe with a seven-game homestand when they return, starting with the home opener versus the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.