Teuvo Teravainen, Jaccob Slavin, Warren Foegele and Jordan Martinook are expected to return for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSCH, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
Each was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Jan 19, when the Hurricanes also shut down their practice facility. Carolina, which had four games postponed, resumed practice Jan. 25. Forwards Teravainen, Foegele and Martinook came off the protocol list Jan. 29 and Slavin, a defenseman, was removed from it the next day.
“We talked about when we had to pause it down, and these guys haven’t had a real practice. That’s the other unfortunate thing. We couldn’t really practice them together, so that’s a big issue,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “So, timing, conditioning, all that stuff is always a big issue when you’ve been out this long.”
Teravainen, who has two assists in three games this season, said he expects to feel a bit rusty Tuesday.
“We’ll see how the game feels,” he said. “It’s going to be a little tough, first game in a while, so I’ll just try to get my legs moving again.”
Slavin averaged a team-high 22:39 in ice time in three games to start the season and said he’s ready to play.
“First, I feel fine,” Slavin said. “I’ll just try to hop right back into it. I think I’ve prepared well with the guys who have been out, just the skates we’ve been doing. For the guys jumping back in, we have to make sure the effort’s there. The rest will fall into place.”
Forward Jordan Staal, who also had been in COVID-19 protocol, returned to the lineup when the Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on Jan. 28, Carolina’s first game since Jan. 18. The Hurricanes (5-1-0) have won three straight games since resuming their schedule.
“It speaks to the culture we have here, also to the depth we have as well,” Slavin said. “Guys who stepped in played were awesome. They played great hockey games. It’s different watching from the stands for multiple games. It’s part of it, what we have to go through. I was super proud to watch the guys compete.”
Forward Jesper Fast remains in COVID-19 protocol after being placed there Jan. 23.
James Reimer will start in goal for the Hurricanes on Tuesday. Brind’Amour didn’t have an update on goalie Petr Mrazek, who sustained an upper-body injury 2:47 into Carolina’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
“He’s looking at two different options,” he said of Mrazek. “I don’t know where that is as of right now.”