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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Daniel Carcillo Inching Closer to His Return to Chicago Blackhawks

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Carcillo’s had the worst luck in the past year. Just as he was doing well last season, he made that really boneheaded hit on Tom Gilbert and the surgery he had two weeks later took him out for the rest of the season. He was cleared for play, even participated in a charity game at the end of October and everyone was thrilled that he was finally back on the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks’ game against the Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately, after scoring an assist, he was felled by another knee injury and has been out since then.

But there’s good news. Carcillo has been skating on his own before practices and he did that again before the Blackhawks’ morning skate with fellow infirmary patients Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz. After practice, coach Joel Quenneville was very encouraged by Carcillo’s progress and said he could likely join full team practices later on this week.

That leaves one looming question. When asked about the challenge of where to put Carcillo once he’s cleared to return, Quenneville wasn’t specific.

“We love those kind of decisions. We welcome the tough ones,” Quenneville said. “With the depth we went in with at the start, we knew we’d get tested. Today we look relatively healthy, but we’ll see. Danny has a great game in his first game, and hopefully he’ll be at that same pace when he gets back.”

Carcillo had started on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and the hole he left has been filled by Brandon Saad, who’s been working exceptionally well with his linemates. Quenneville likes what he’s seen in Saad, so he’d be very reluctant to take him out of that line. The most likely scenario would be placing Carcillo on the fourth line, which would mean that either Jamal Mayers or Brandon Bollig would be replaced. Neither have any points thus far, but they’ve offered a physical presence to their line. Carcillo could do that as well, but he also has the skills needed to make plays and score.

The bottom line: the Carbomb will be returning soon and he may be as explosive as ever.