Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will be the quietest player on the ice during Tuesday’s Game 3 against the Minnesota Wild. But not by choice.
The blueliner has not been medically cleared to speak after taking a puck to the throat in Game 2 of the second-round series against Minnesota, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports. Hjalmarsson didn’t miss a shift after taking the slapshot square to the gullet, and although it could be up to two weeks until he can talk again, the defenseman will be returning to the ice as Chicago looks to take a 3-0 series lead at Excel Energy Center.
“He’s fine, but he is unable to speak right now,” coach Joel Quenneville told reporters after his team’s morning skate. “But he’s ready to go.”
This could create some communication problems on the ice, but Quenneville doesn’t believe Hjalmarsson’s silence will hurt his game too much.
“Obviously you like to talk to the goalie playing it, your partner, whether he’s got an out or you’re the out; sometimes that can be beneficial,” Quenneville said. “We always want to communicate on the bench, make sure we’re talking as well. But I think we’re familiar with a lot, and he’s familiar with the players around him and changes as well.”
Hockey players, right?
Check out a GIF of the original play below, via @MyRegularFace.