The Chicago Blackhawks are taking the ice for training camp on Friday, but they’re already dealing with a host of injury concerns as the preseason gets underway.
Most significantly, the team announced Friday that defenseman Connor Murphy will be sidelined for approximately eight weeks as he deals with a back injury. Murphy, who had two goals and 12 assists in his first season with the Blackhawks, won’t be ready for the start of the regular season, but could be back on the ice in November.
Another defenseman is also shelved at the moment, as Brent Seabrook is expected to miss at least the first week of camp with an abdominal injury. Seabrook has had a rough go of things lately, and is hoping to bounce back as the Blackhawks try to get back into the postseason.
The injuries to those two defensemen could pave the way for Henri Jokiharju to make the team, as he is the most likely replacement for both players as a right-handed blue liner. The Blackhawks could play him on his off-side, but that seems unlikely, as they would want the youngster to get comfortable at the NHL level before trying to switch him to the other side.
Defenseman Gustav Forsling also remains out, as he underwent offseason wrist surgery.
The big question coming into camp was whether goaltender Corey Crawford would be healthy, and although he didn’t skate with the team on Friday morning, he did go through an on-ice workout, so the team is looking to take things cautiously with him from the start of camp.
He will also speak to media later on Friday afternoon.
The Blackhawks will host their annual Training Camp Festival on Saturday at the United Center.