The Blackhawks made three more cuts Tuesday, assigning goaltender Sebastien Caron to Norfolk and releasing tryout forward Mike Siklenka and tryout defenseman Jason Doig. The training camp roster now stands at 29 players.
Brian Boucher will start in net Wednesday at St. Louis with Nikolai Khabibulin starting the final two preseason games.
LW Michael Holmqvist sat out practice Tuesday due to a tweaked groin muscle. He did make the trip to St. Louis with the team, but will not play Wednesday against the Blues ... D James Wisniewski did not travel with the team after pulling a buttocks muscle Sunday night vs. Minnesota. Both players are day-to-day.
Michal Handzus was given the day off Tuesday to return to Philadelphia in order to finalize his move to Chicago. Handzus continues to recover from shoulder surgery and has yet to have a full practice with contact. Coach Trent Yawney said Handzus would likely be ready to play in the final preseason game at Minnesota.
The league has suspended Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla for two regular season games for his hit on Tuomo Ruutu last Friday night. Ruutu is expected to miss four weeks with a sprained left knee. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Klesla will forfeit $17,112.30. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. Klesla was assessed a major penalty for clipping at 12:30 of the 3rd period. The suspension means Klesla won't be in the lineup for the Blackhawks' home opener against the Blue Jackets on Oct. 7.
"I'm just glad Ruuty had his brace on because it could have been a lot worse," Yawney said. "Four weeks is probably a long time in his mind, and it is a long time to have him out of the lineup, but the fact that we're going to have him for a portion of this year is really good for our hockey club."
The training camp roster is down to 18 players with 10 who have jobs more or less locked up heading into the final three preaseason games -- Denis Arkhipov, Michal Handzus, Patrick Sharp, Bryan Smolinski, Rene Bourque, Martin Havlat, Michael Holmqvist, Martin Lapointe, Tony Salmelainen and Radim Vrbata.
That leaves eight players fighting for what will likely be only three spots -- Dave Bolland, Michael Blunden, Brandon Bochenski, Adam Burish, Matt Keith, Reed Low, Jonas Nordqvist and Jeff Hamilton, who is in camp on a tryout. As top prospects just out of junior hockey, the Hawks are probably not in a rush to bring Bolland and Blunden to the NHL.
"They separate themselves," Yawney said. "This is when it gets tough to let guys go. They may deserve a spot with their play on the ice, but we just don't have the room. It bodes well for our organization because these guys will start pushing the players up here, or we'll have to make room for them."