Arvid Soderblom has been called up as the Hawks’ replacement for Lankinen, who suffered the injury in-game Saturday against the Wild but played through it.
DENVER — Kevin Lankinen suffered a hand injury during Saturday’s Blackhawks-Wild game, but didn’t immediately tell anyone about it.
So Hawks interim coach Derek King was chatting with him casually postgame, unaware anything had happened other than Lankinen making an impressive 40 saves, when he was jolted by the unexpected news.
“I’m still trying to get when it happened and why he didn’t really complain about it,” King said Monday. “It was something he just dealt with and fought through. And after the game, I was…congratulating him, and all of a sudden, the doctor comes in and tells me he’s out for two-to-three weeks.”
Indeed, it turns out Lankinen — who flew back Sunday to Chicago for medical treatment — will be sidelined until mid-February. He was placed on injured reserve.
His absence pushes Arvid Soderblom into the Hawks’ No. 2 goalie role behind Marc-Andre Fleury, who started for the ninth time in 10 games this month Monday against the Avalanche. That should be valuable experience for Soderblom, who is actually the only goalie in the entire organization currently signed beyond this season.
But it’s a tough break for Lankinen. Although numbers this season are poor — he’s 2-5-4 with an .889 save percentage — he seemed to find his top game again this weekend, stopping 56 of 61 total shots over 4.5 periods against a dangerous Wild offense. The immediate disruption to that momentum costs him a valuable chance to reestablish his value.
King contemplates future
Even as he approaches three months on the job, King’s interim coaching role hasn’t affected his nonexistent ego whatsoever. He still jokes around, still readily admits when he doesn’t know something and still often references his playing and minor-league coaching experiences.
But in the most characteristic King way possible, he suggested Monday he has thought some about what it’d be like to keep this job full-time.
“I would obviously love to be back [next season],” he said. “I’m enjoying it. I’m learning a lot, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice. I’m getting more comfortable. I feel like I can help. But I’m just being me. I’m going to go out and do the best job I can, and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, then I’ll move on and see where I’m at.”
The Hawks are moving slowly right now while sketching out their vision and structure for the front office. Next, they’ll need to fill the vacant roles in new front-office structure they choose.
Only after that point — likely in the offseason — will a permanent coach be named, a fact King acknowledged himself. He hopes whoever is making that decision will at least consider him, though.
“We’ll see who takes over — maybe it’s somebody I know or something,” he said. “But I’m not too focused on it.”
Seabrook ceremony postponed
Brent Seabrook’s legacy night, previously scheduled for next Monday at the United Center against the Canucks, has been postponed.
“The Blackhawks and Brent both want his entire family to be able to travel in for this special recognition, and with the risk of an extended stay in Chicago with school-aged children, we understand it is in his family’s best interest to stay in Canada for the time being,” the Hawks said in a statement. “We look forward to honoring Brent’s career in a future season.”
The Hawks now need to reschedule both Seabrook and Marian Hossa’s legacy nights, presumably in 2022-23. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s retirement ceremony remains scheduled for March 3.