The bad news is Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t play Sunday night against the St. Louis Blues. The good news is, his upper-body injury doesn’t sound too serious.
Joel Quenneville said Hjalmarsson, who played just five shifts Thursday night after skipping the morning skate, is “day to day” with what is believed to be a back injury. But considering the physically grueling style of play the shot-blocking Hjalmarsson plays, and how many hard miles have been put on his body in the last several seasons, the smart thing to do is be as cautious as possible.
“He knows his body and he knows when he can fight through certain things,” Quenneville said. “We’re giving him enough time to get back to where he’s basically 100 percent. There are certain things you can fight through, but with him, he can go through anything. Let’s make sure at this time of the year, that he recovers from this.”
Quenneville said there are no plans to recall Gustav Forsling or any other defenseman, another encouraging sign that Hjalmarsson shouldn’t miss much time. Trevor van Riemsdyk will pair up with Duncan Keith on the top pairing in the meantime, with Michal Rozsival skating alongside Brian Campbell on the third pairing.
Vinnie Hinostroza was sent down to Rockford to make room for Tomas Jurco. That had as much to do with the fact that Hinostroza didn’t have to clear waivers to be reassigned (Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins would) as anything else.
“Vinnie, we think he can help us at some point here,” Quenneville said. “We like his speed and offensively, there’s some ability there. [We need him to] be a little more comfortable with it, and playing a little bit more down there can help him. [There is some] inconsistency defensively, [but] I think there’s some progress there.”