The Blackhawks announced yesterday that defenseman Mike Kostka will miss the next 4-6 weeks because of a lower-body injury, but they aren't alone. Injury woes are starting to pile up all over the NHL, and will impact the Hawks competition in some significant ways.
On Saturday and Monday, the Hawks will face the Wild in a home-and-home scenario, and Minnesota is missing a few key pieces. Mike Rupp and Charlie Coyle are both already on IR, and just yesterday the Wild announced that defenseman Jonas Brodin is out indefinitely with a broken cheekbone suffered in their game against Nashville.
The Hawks will play Winnipeg twice in four days in early November (2nd in Winnipeg, 6th in Chicago), and they're without a few players as well. Defenseman Jacob Trouba was taken off the ice on a stretcher last week and is out indefinitely with a sprained neck. Jim Slater and Mark Stuart are also dealing with injuries and are listed as questionable for the Jets game against Nashville tonight.
Brodin was hurt against Nashville, but the Preds were dealt a tough blow of their own. On Thursday morning, the Predators announced that goaltender Pekka Rinne will miss at least four weeks because of a spontaneous bacterial infection. The Hawks will visit the Preds on Nov. 16 for the first time this season.
The Oilers visit the United Center on Nov. 10, and their list of injuries is as significant as any in the NHL. They recently lost Taylor Hall for four weeks with a knee injury, and are already without Sam Gagner (broken jaw). Edmonton already has four other players, including Corey Potter and Steve McIntyre, on IR.
And a still-developing injury of note, defenseman Erik Johnson reportedly needed help off the ice at practice on Wednesday after taking a shot off his foot. The Hawks begin their November road trip in Denver on Nov. 19, so the status of Johnson will be worth watching moving forward.
Health is always an important factor in the NHL, but a rash of significant injuries are starting to impact every corner of the league. And, looking at the upcoming schedule, the Blackhawks will face some teams missing key players in the coming weeks.