Connor Murphy expected to be out ‘a couple weeks,’ dealing blow to Blackhawks’ defense

The defenseman had been playing on the top pair alongside Duncan Keith prior to suffering a groin injury Tuesday.

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Connor Murphy suffered a groin injury during the Blackhawks’ loss to the Golden Knights.

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The excellent top pair of Connor Murphy and Duncan Keith that the Blackhawks had recently gotten rolling is no more, at least for the next few weeks.

Murphy suffered a groin injury, according to Jeremy Colliton, late in the second period of the Hawks’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday. He did not return to the game and finished with 12:24 of ice time.

Colliton said he expected Murphy to miss “a couple weeks.”

Thursday update: The Hawks have placed Murphy on long-term injured reserve, which will keep him out for a minimum of 24 days (during which time the Hawks will play 11 games). Dennis Gilbert has been recalled from the AHL.

It’s the 26-year-old defenseman’s second groin injury of the young season. He was held out for the latter part of the preseason and the first game of the regular season with a similar ailment, though he said recently that it was only minor and didn’t disrupt his fitness.

The setback comes at an unfortunate time for Murphy, who was enjoying arguably the biggest role of his tenure in Chicago so far. He and Keith had developed a strong rapport on and off the ice and were producing effective defensive results on a regular basis.

“Obviously, that’s a blow for us,” Colliton said. “It’s an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That’s what we’re going to need. We can’t just play with six D or seven D all year. You’re going to need more than that. That’ll be an opportunity for other guys to grow.”

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