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Van Riemsdyk recalled by Blackhawks from AHL

by Brian Hedger /

CHICAGO -- It's been a challenging season for Chicago Blackhawks rookie defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk, but it might have a positive conclusion.

The Blackhawks recalled van Riemsdyk, 23, on Friday from Rockford of the American Hockey League after he was cleared to return from the second of two major injuries.

The most recent was a right wrist injury that required surgery April 7, and happened with Rockford after van Riemsdyk had returned from a three-month absence following surgery to repair a fractured patella in his left knee. The on-ice work van Riemsdyk did Friday with a small group of teammates was his first time skating since the second surgery.

"We'll see," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday when asked when van Riemsdyk could play. "I know the timeline to get him on the ice was, [this was] his first day today. But he's been ready. He's cleared to participate and he was out there doing 1-on-1 drills, so we'll see."

Van Riemsdyk likely will be a healthy scratch for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), but Quenneville left the door open for the possibility of a return at some point in the series.

"I don't anticipate him being in [Saturday]," Quenneville said. "He'll need a few days out here. We'll get an evaluation and go from there."

Since the season-ending broken ankle sustained by Michal Rozsival in Game 4 of the second round against the Minnesota Wild, Quenneville has leaned on his top four defensemen to handle the majority of the ice time during the first three games of the conference final. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya were on the ice for 84.9 percent of game play in the first two games, including each logging at least 46 minutes in the Blackhawks' 3-2 triple-overtime victory in Game 2 at Honda Center on Tuesday.

Prior to his first injury, van Riemsdyk began to earn more trust from Quenneville as the Blackhawks' fifth defenseman. In 18 games, he had one assist and averaged 13:32 of ice time before a puck hit him in the left knee Nov. 18 in a game against the Dallas Stars.

He didn't play again until March in the AHL, but after eight games he was shut down after having wrist surgery.

"It's definitely not fun," van Riemsdyk said. "I was making my way back there, just kind of making my way through that, shaking off the rust there, [and] then this happens. Again, that's how hockey is. That's what we signed up for. It's a physical sport and stuff like this happens. Unfortunately it's happened a little too frequently than I would have liked these last few months. But that's how it goes. Hopefully I get all of this out of my system and go from there."

Van Riemsdyk said there's some stiffness in his wrist that needs to be worked out, but he's feeling better overall. He's said he's happy with the progress he made adding strength in his knee during his recent down time.

"There's no time for sulking or feeling bad," van Riemsdyk said. "No one's going to do that for you. That's not going to get you back on the ice any faster, feeling sorry for yourself. It was starting to feel pretty good, but this [wrist injury] happened and you can't be like, 'Oh, I would've been this, I would've been that.' That just wasn't the case, so this is kind of how it happened. Now I've got to work from there and try to get back to 100 percent."

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