The Blackhawks will be without Drake Caggiula, one of the presumed X-factors in their series against the Oilers, for Game 2 on Monday.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Sunday that Caggiula will be suspended for one game because of an illegal check to the head of Tyler Ennis during Game 1 on Saturday.
Ennis was carrying the puck out of his defensive zone and had just released it from his stick when Caggiula’s shoulder caught Ennis’ head, causing the Oilers forward to spin out.
No penalty was called on Caggiula, but Ennis was called for delay of game because he sailed the puck over the glass. Still, the incident looked likely to draw at least disciplinary review.
“[Caggiula is] a 200-foot player and hits a lot of bodies and finds a way to create some chances and get some momentum for us,” Dylan Strome said Sunday shortly after the announcement. “We have a lot of depth here, so hopefully it doesn’t take too much wind out of our sails. But he’s a great player, so it’ll be tough to be without him for a game.”
Ennis endured a rough afternoon. He left the game later after his hand was inadvertently cut by Kirby Dach’s skate. But Ennis practiced Monday, and Oilers coach Dave Tippett said he was fine.
Caggiula had an otherwise uneventful playoff debut for the Hawks, despite significant anticipation for his rematch against his former Oilers team. He was held without a point or shot on goal in 11:25 of ice time.
“I feel bad for ‘Jules,’ ” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It was just kind of a bang-bang play. He went hard and I don’t think he was trying to catch him in the head, but he did. The NHL made the decision, and of course we wish we had him in the lineup but we won’t.”
Colliton said he hasn’t determined which forward will slide into the Game 2 lineup in Caggiula’s stead. Dylan Sikura, who was the extra forward dressed for the exhibition game against the Blues, is the most likely option.