The Nashville Predators may well face a short-staffed Blackhawks defense when they head to Chicago on Wednesday, as Niklas Hjalmarsson was given a major penalty and a game misconduct after a vicious, blind-side boarding of Buffalo's Jason Pominville. The following video was found at Kukla's Korner:
This will present the first major test of the NHL's supplementary discipline chief, Colin Campbell, during this regular season. We've already seen Mike Cammalleri get a one-game suspension for slashing Islanders rookie Nino Niederreiter during an exhibition game, while this shot represents a clear case where the league can "send a message" early on. The only question here is likely to be how many games Hjalmarsson will sit. 1? 3? 5?
Chicago is already missing Brian Campbell for the opening weeks of the season due to injury, and Hjalmarsson is expected to play a key role on the Blackhawks' blueline after signing a new 4-year, $14 million contract this summer.
For the Predators, this means that during Wednesday's game rolling the forward lines and putting pressure on their defensemen will be paramount. Dump & chase could be the formula to wear their big remaining two (Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook) down over the course of the contest.