Murphy OUT, Stalock TBD For Friday Night’s Blackhawks Game
News from the Blackhawks morning skate in Sunrise wasn’t great on Friday. Defenseman Connor Murphy, who had appeared in every game thus far for the Blackhawks this season, is not with the team because of a personal matter. He’s out for Friday night’s game against the Panthers and, per Ben Pope on Twitter, Saturday night’s game in Tampa as well; Filip Roos was recalled on Thursday and will take his place in the lineup.
This isn’t ideal because the Panthers are still trying to find a rhythm and get into form to scratch back into a playoff spot, and the Blackhawks’ defensive group has left a lot to be desired even with Murphy available. Nikita Zaitsev has not been good in his first three games with Chicago and this likely elevates his role for at least one night (though the Blackhawks are in Tampa on Saturday).
Further complicating matters for the coaches tonight is the questionable status of goaltender Alex Stalock, who has a non-COVID illness and was not at the morning skate. The Blackhawks have not recalled a backup from Rockford yet, though the Blackhawks do have three netminders with the IceHogs at this point. Head coach Luke Richardson wouldn’t commit to Stalock being officially out for Friday night’s game yet, but one has to think the Blackhawks will need to address it by the time the game against the Panthers starts with a second game in as many nights on deck.
Stalock was so good against the Red Wings and has fought so hard to come back throughout this season that any new reason for him to be out of the lineup sucks.