CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk practiced with teammates for a second consecutive day Saturday and is close to being cleared for contact as he continues to work his way back from a knee injury.
Van Riemsdyk has been out since fracturing his left patella in a game on Nov. 16. He participated in a non-contact morning skate Friday and a non-contact optional practice on Saturday.
“Very close [to taking contact],” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk on Saturday. “Like what we saw again today, moving well, pushing and shoving. He’ll get a little more of that in practice. I like the progress.”
Van Riemsdyk said his knee has responded well to the workouts and it has felt stronger recently. He still doesn’t have an idea when he’ll be able to play in a game.
“I haven’t really set anything in my mind,” van Riemsdyk said. “I’m just trying to come in each day, see how it feels from pushing it the day before and kind of react to that and take the proper care of it.”
Quenneville said it was “definitely” an option for van Riemsdyk to have a conditioning assignment with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. The IceHogs’ upcoming schedule includes away games in Texas on Feb. 27 and 28 and home games on March 6 and 7.
Hartman learning: Blackhawks rookie forward Ryan Hartman assessed himself through four career NHL games on Saturday.
“I think it’s been all right,” Hartman said. “I still feel like I have more to show, more to give. That’s just going to come with the more comfortable I feel out there.
“You’re just learning from watching the other guys play and the other team play. It’s a different game. It’s faster. It’s a lot more skilled. It’s a lot smarter with the decisions with the puck. I just try to watch all the shifts and try to learn from it.”
Hartman’s ice time has varied in his first week, but he’s fine with whatever he gets.
“You got to know your role, and you got to know there’s a lot of good hockey players on this team,” Hartman said. “There’s reasons why other guys are going out, obviously. I’m happy to get two minutes. I’m happy to get two shifts. I’m playing in the NHL. It’s just an honor to be just out there.”
Carcillo has been a healthy scratch the last three games. He has four goals, four assists and is a plus-3 in 36 games this season.