When the Chicago Blackhawks took the ice on Saturday night, they were joined by a surprise addition. Young star forward Kirby Dach had been activated from the Long-Term Injured Reserve and had re-joined the lineup. Dach had not played yet this season and, while he had been skating with the team, the Blackhawks had made no indication prior to their pregame announcement that Dach was close to a return. Not only was Dach apparently ready for action, but he seamlessly returned to his second-line center role, logging 20:08 time on ice – the third-highest mark among Blackhawks forwards in the game.

Dach re-joining Chicago before the end of March marks a shocking departure from his initial recovery timeline. The talented pivot was injured back in December, suffering a fractured right wrist during one of Team Canada’s World Junior Championship pre-tournament scrimmages.