Brett Connolly, Duncan Keith to Sit Out
Connolly, who came to Chicago in a trade April 8, was diagnosed on Thursday after a collision with Steven Lorentz. The Carolina Hurricanes and Connolly met in the second period, with Connolly leaving the game for the night. Now it looks like his season is over, with Chicago having just two games remaining. He’s hardly a vital part of the team, and there’s no harm in bringing in a younger player in the short term.
Connolly has had difficulty regaining last year’s scoring touch with the Florida Panthers when he had 19 goals and 33 points in just 69 games. His move to the Blackhawks hasn’t helped, but he remains a steady veteran presence with good defensive numbers. He’s not likely to lose his spot on the team, with two years remaining on his contract. The bottom-six forward will finish the year with just three goals and six points in 30 games.
Duncan Keith’s injury is a bigger loss for the team – and on a weirder play. Keith smacked his head into linesman Ryan Gibbons’ knee after stumbling to catch up to a puck cleared from the attacking zone. With Keith out of the play, Martin Necas scored the first goal of the game shorthanded. That’s Necas’ second consecutive game with a shorthanded goal, though he looked properly apologetic about this one.
Keith left the game after hitting Gibbons’ knee and didn’t return. Again, with just two games remaining, it’s likely he’s finished for the season. He’s in the 11th of a 13-year deal and has been a large part of the team as it goes through a trying year. While he’s had the worst offensive year of his career – just four goals and 15 points in 54 games – he still plays over 23 minutes a night, leading his team in ice time.