Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach out with right shoulder sprain as challenging season nears end

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kirby Dach’s challenging 2021-22 season may end on a sour note.

Dach suffered a right shoulder sprain during the second period Thursday against the Sharks when he was slightly tripped up by Nicolas Meloche behind the net, then fallen on by Sam Lafferty. He took one more shift in the third period before leaving for good.

“He just came back to the bench and he was going to try it again,” interim coach Derek King said Friday. “We had a timeout, he went on the ice, and then I pulled him off and put [Dylan] Strome’s line on for the faceoff in the offensive zone. [Dach] just got up and said, ‘I can’t go.’Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

King added he hopes the Hawks won’t have to shut down Dach for the remainder of the season, but with less than two weeks left, that seems like a real possibility.

Dach unsurprisingly missed Saturday’s game against the Predators. Results from tests on his shoulder are expected to come back Monday.

As it stands now, Dach tallied only 26 points in 70 games this season while averaging 18:03 of ice time. Offensively, it was perhaps the worst of his three years so far: his points-per-60-minutes (at even strength) rate has gone from 1.49 as a rookie to 1.77 last season to 1.09 this season.

Defensively, Dach has been solid since the day he entered the NHL, and at age 21, he still has lots of time left for development. But this latest setback certainly doesn’t help matters.

Kane won’t explain

Patrick Kane celebrated his first-period goal Saturday by staring down and yelling at a bald man in a Predators jacket seated in the first row at Bridgestone Arena.

The incident set social media afire with curiosity. After the game, Kane first insisted there was “no real reason” behind it.

“I just saw it was a Nashville fan, so I just kinda caught him on it,” he said with a laugh.

When asked if the fan had said anything to him, though, he hesitated before saying he’d “just keep it at that.” Thus, the mystery lives on.

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