Star-crossed Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo will be out a month
GLENDALE, Ariz. — It took exactly one year and two days for Daniel Carcillo to get back on the ice after surgeons reconstructed his left knee. It took less than 11 minutes of ice time Saturday for him to suffer another significant injury.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday morning that Carcillo will miss about a month with a “lower-body injury” suffered during the third period of the season-opening victory over the Kings when he was hit along the boards by Drew Doughty.
Quenneville said it wasn’t the same knee as last year but declined to be more specific. Carcillo appeared to be favoring his right knee this time as he was helped off the ice. He was at Sunday morning’s skate at Jobing.com Arena in street clothes but wasn’t on crutches, walking to the dressing room under his own power.
It was a cruel twist of fate for Carcillo, who was rewarded for his rehab work with a coveted spot on the Hawks’ top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
“You feel bad for him,” teammate Viktor Stalberg said. “He’s battled back from the last knee injury, basically waiting for a year to get back, only to get hurt in the first game back. That’s tough not just on the body, but mentally, too.”
Quenneville said Carcillo looked very good in his 17 shifts, saying that top combination was “a very dangerous line for us.” But at least the light at the end of the tunnel is closer this time than it was last time.
“Keep your spirits up, work through it, get excited to get back again,” Quenneville said. “He knows the process of working on that rehab and the commitment that’s needed to get his game back to where it was. It’ll be a process, but we’ll look forward to getting him back.”
Carcillo’s misfortune is rookie Brandon Saad’s good fortune. With the Hawks playing so well against the Kings, Quenneville was reluctant to shake up the lines to accommodate for Carcillo’s absence.
So Saad — the offensively gifted winger who had six points in his last two nights with the Rockford IceHogs before being called up for training camp — slid right into that top spot Sunday night against the Coyotes.
Instead of being a healthy scratch as he was in Los Angeles or starting on the fourth line like many rookies, he’ll be starting with two of the best players in the world.
“It’s exciting,” Saad said. “It’s never good to see a player go down, especially with the history he had with his knee. [But] it’s going to be exciting to get a chance to play, for sure.”
Toews was spotted after Saturday’s game talking with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Toews, who said there was lingering resentment with the league after the lockout, said it was “a brief but positive conversation. I’ll leave it at that and focus on the game. Other stuff doesn’t really matter anymore.”
Ray Emery got the start in goal for the Hawks, the first of 12 back-to-back sets.
“You’ve got six games in nine days this week, and I want to get Ray in the game and [make] him part of the team right off the bat, get a game under his belt,” Quenneville said.