Kirb Dach MTL injury status

Kirby Dach has a significant injury that, according to the Montreal Canadiens, will not be short term.

The 22-year-old forward was injured when Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi hit him into the Chicago bench in the first period of a 3-2 Montreal win at Bell Centre on Saturday.

The Canadiens said they are still in the process of properly diagnosing the injury and will know more in the next few days.

“It’s hard,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said Monday. “He was off to a great start. You see the potential he has and the way he has been playing. But that’s the game.”

Dach, selected by Chicago with No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, was traded to Montreal on July 7, 2022. He had 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 58 games last season and opened this season with two assists in a 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.

“He does a lot,” St. Louis said. “He competes. He brings a physical aspect to the game, not running around and hitting guys, but winning pucks back. He’s a guy that wins a lot of pucks and battles and steals pucks, and obviously great in transition. He possesses [the puck]. He’s got a very elite brain. You know, he can make plays. He has shown that he can do a lot on the ice.”

Alex Newhook played center on the second line when the Canadiens hosted the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday between forwards Josh Anderson and Juraj Slafkovsky.

“It [stinks] losing a guy like that, no matter how long the timeline is, but I think it’s just next-man-up mentality,” Newhook said. “Obviously a big hole to fill, and I’m going to do my best to fill that and carry the load.”

Newhook, who signed a four-year contract with Montreal as an unrestricted free agent July 11, said he is comfortable at center and on the wing.

“That’s a big part of my game, is versatility there and being able to slot in wherever I’m needed, and it looks like now it will be back in the middle,” Newhook said.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard will move up to the top line with center Nick Suzuki and forward Cole Caufield, while forward Michael Pezzetta will take Harvey-Pinard’s spot on the fourth line.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me, but even if I’m playing on the fourth, third or the first line, I have to keep my identity and play the same way I’m used to playing,” Harvey-Pinard said.

St. Louis said he thinks the Canadiens have good depth.

“It’s not one player that makes up our team,” St. Louis said. “The depth that we have an our play as a group will help us get through times like this. For me, it’s next man up and the strength of the group.” independent correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this report