Blackhawks’ Tyler Johnson skates for the first time since a neck operation

The Blackhawks will have to wait a bit for their next game, but they got some encouraging news on the injury front on Tuesday.

Tyler Johnson hit the ice as training was coming to an end and it was thought to be his first time since undergoing neck surgery on December 3rd.

“It was nice to see Tyler on the ice,” said interim head coach Derek King. “I just had a little quick talk with him. I told him I would have a picture with him if no one was to believe I was actually training this boy. We just giggled and laughed a little … It was just nice to see him out there. He’s better off, he said. “

Johnson did not participate in any exercises, but joined his teammates for the fun after-workout festivities, which included the popular game Two Puck.

Johnson, most notably, underwent the same surgery as Jack Eichel, who became the first NHL player ever to have an artificial disc replacement surgery. Eichel underwent surgery on November 12 and began skating again on December 2, about three weeks later.

Now, Johnson is very clearly not close to returning to the game’s action anytime soon, but this is a positive first step. He sustained the injury on Oct. 29 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In other news, Jujhar Khaira practiced for the second day in a row and skated on the fourth line with Ryan Carpenter and MacKenzie Entwistle. He has been out since Dec. 7 after being carried off the ice against the New York Rangers.

All signs point to Khaira being ready to return every time the Blackhawks play their next game, which right now is Saturday against Nashville.

“I’ll have to check with our coach, but I hope he’s ready to go,” King said. “Of course we do not want to be exposed, but I think the postponement of some of these matches has helped some guys, especially a player like him who is coming off the injury. I hope he is ready to go, when we get back to work here. “

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