Niklas Hjalmarsson, who has been sidelined with an upper-body injury since Feb. 10, practiced with the Blackhawks during the team’s morning skate on Tuesday, but the defenseman said he will not play until he feels 100 percent.
Hjalmarsson felt sick and was sent home before the team’s early-February game against the San Jose Sharks. Tuesday was the first time he has skated with the team since then, but he will not play tonight when the Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings.
“If I had been 100 percent, I would have played for sure,” Hjalmarsson said after the morning skate. “It’s always tough when you haven’t done anything really in a week in a half, to get back. It’s amazing how fast you lose everything and how long it takes to get back, so I really need to work on my conditioning a little bit and my puck-handling and hopefully I’ll get back soon.”
Hjalmarsson said he felt nauseous when he was with the team in San Jose and the decision was made to send him home.
“[I] just wanted to go home to not risk giving anything to the guys and the team,” he said. “I’m starting to feel better now and it’s been frustrating watching the guys play and all. That’s the worst feeling, just to sit in the stands and watch the guys work really hard. That’s the worst feeling ever. I just want to get back, hopefully as soon as possible.”
Hjalmarsson has played 54 games for the Blackhawks this season, recording 12 points (1G, 11 A). He holds a plus/minus rating of +5 and has blocked 126 shots, 12th-most in the NHL and second-most on the Blackhawks.