Versteeg close to return; van Riemsdyk skating

Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg is expected to return to the lineup early into the team’s upcoming eight-game homestand after missing the last month with a hand injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday.

“We expect him to be playing on that homestand, on the early part of it,” Quenneville told reporters on Tuesday.

Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk skated Tuesday for the first time since fracturing a left patella on Nov. 16, according to Quenneville. Van Riemsdyk underwent surgery on Nov. 20 and was originally expected to miss 3-4 months.

“More of a light skate for him, first step,” Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk.

Versteeg suffered a metacarpal fracture in his left hand when he was struck by a puck during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. He underwent surgery on Jan. 6 to stabilize the fracture and was originally expected to miss four weeks. He will miss his 13th consecutive game on Tuesday.

Versteeg began skating again last week in Chicago while the Blackhawks were on the road. The Blackhawks will return home to begin their lengthy homestand on Monday. Versteeg has nine goals, 18 assists and is a plus-14 in 34 games this season.

Van Riemsdyk, a rookie, surprised many by earning a spot on the Blackhawks roster out of training camp. He has one assist, is a plus-minus 0 and is averaging 13:32 of ice time in 18 games this season.