Ryan Hartman injury not as severe as initially feared

SHARE Ryan Hartman injury not as severe as initially feared

Marcus Kruger (left) and Ryan Hartman celebrate a first-period goal Friday night in Nashville as Matt Carle skates by. (AP Photo)

When Ryan Hartman was helped back to the dressing room after injuring his left leg just two shifts into Friday’s game in Nashville, the Blackhawks braced for the worst. But it turned out Hartman’s injury wasn’t nearly as serious as initially feared.

Hartman missed Saturday’s return match with the Predators, but is “day to day,” according to Joel Quenneville, who said the Hawks won’t even call up another player to take Hartman’s spot. Hartman was one of the bright spots in the first two games, scoring a goal in the opener and assisting on Marcus Kruger’s goal on his first shift in Nashville.

“He had a real positive beginning here,” Quenneville said. “Nice to see him score his first goal. I like how he started the game [in Nashville]. He has a good awareness, technically, and a good thought process to the game, as well. He had a good camp, as well. So it’s good news that he’s not going to miss too much time.”

Dennis Rasmussen, the only extra forward the Hawks are carrying, will draw into Hartman’s spot on Saturday. Rasmussen played 44 games for the Hawks last season, with four goals and five assists, mostly on the fourth line. Quenneville suggested Rasmussen could help the Hawks’ beleaguered penalty-killing unit, which gave up six power-play goals in the first two games.

“He can play both [center and wing], gives us some size, had a real good finish to camp — a real good camp,” Quenneville said. “He was battling for a position up here, and looked like he established that role. He’s going to push to stay in the lineup. You can use him in different situations, be it killing penalties and faceoffs — that’s an area we can get better at, as well. He gives us some different options.”

Welcome to the Central

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, acquired for Shea Weber in a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Canadiens on June 29, wasted no time insinuating himself into the rapidly blossoming Hawks-Predators rivalry on Friday, getting into it with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa, among others.

Subban, who was deeply entrenched in the historic Canadiens-Bruins rivalry, was excited to get his first taste of the burgeoning feud.

“Chicago’s a great team,” he said. “It’s been definitely a growing rivalry in the league and obviously I’ve played in games like this before — Montreal and Boston. But for me, it’s just a start of a new season. I look forward to comparing the rivalries, for sure, from East to West.”

Tootoo time

Jordin Tootoo played just 4 minutes, 26 seconds in the opener, including just 19 seconds t in the third period. In Nashville, he played just 4:18, with 62 seconds in the third period. Quenneville said before Saturday’s game that he’d like to get Tootoo — who made a terrific pass to set up a Vinnie Hinostroza scoring chance in the slot in Nashville — more playing time.

“He did a good job [Friday] night,” Quenneville said. “That line was makeshift throughout the game. He did some good things, and we want more of a four-line look.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus

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