Blackhawks are feeling the loss of Seth Jones right about now

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Hawks are feeling the loss of Seth Jones right about now originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When Seth Jones went down with a right thumb injury, the Blackhawks knew it was going to be a committee-type approach to replace his minutes after he was ruled out for 3-4 weeks. He plays in all situations, and the Blackhawks don't have a defenseman that can legitimately do that on a consistent basis outside of Jones.

The Blackhawks are leaning heavily on all seven of their defensemen to carry the load, and they're all playing more significant roles than they're accustomed to. As a result, the Blackhawks are starting to feel Jones' absence right about now.

In Wednesday's 5-2 loss to St. Louis, Caleb Jones was on the ice for all five goals against. Some were bad bounces, some were because of his mistakes. It was that kind of night.

Alec Regula, Caleb's defense partner, was on the ice for three of the five goals against, which forced head coach Luke Richardson to separate the two and mix and match the rest of the way. And Jack Johnson led the entire team with 22:52 of ice time, although he was the only one on the team with a positive rating.

Two nights prior in a 3-0 loss to Carolina, Filip Roos ranked second among team defensemen with 19:26 of ice time, right behind Caleb at 21:22. Both of them were on the ice for two of the three goals against.

Everyone is just slotted way too high, and at some point, it was going to catch up to the Blackhawks, even though the blue-line group did a respectable job without Seth for the first couple weeks.

"Oh, no, for sure," Richardson said. "Right from the beginning, we have, but it shows now. There's a couple losses where you think a big, rangy guy that kills plays really well, those are a few in our own zone that carry on too long, we definitely miss him there. The power play, he's another presence where he's got a lot more reps and repetition. He's a top guy for that."

The bad news is, it sounds like Seth is still at least a week and a half from returning to game action. Even though he's been skating for a week, Richardson said Seth is still feeling some discomfort in his thumb and the Blackhawks will give it another 7-10 days to let it heal before taking another X-ray.

This isn't a setback for Seth, though. He's still on track to be back around the original timetable. But any chance of him returning on the earlier side of it is unlikely.

"We're trying to buy our time to get him back," Richardson said. "I think it's a collective group, not just the six D that are in the lineup. We've got to play better defensively and help kill those plays and get going on the offense so we're not in that D zone for a long time so we don't overwork guys that are maybe playing a little bit more and higher up on the totem pole where they're playing top line.

"But it's a chance for everyone, so we got to use it as that until we get him back. We can't miraculously fix his thumb."

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