Bryan Bickell’s Return Will Provide Stability to Chicago Blackhawks
Things are once again looking up for the Chicago Blackhawks. The team has already faced both high and low points, despite the NHL season not even being halfway over. One of the low points thus far has been the injury to winger Bryan Bickell, who was a key part in the team’s second Stanley Cup in four seasons.
Bickell was rewarded for his playoff performances with a new four-year, $16 million contract but has only appeared in 22 games to this season due to injury. After beginning the season on the first line with Jonathan Toews, Bickell looked lost and was soon relegated to the third line.
Things were looking up for Bickell before his injury, despite the majority of his points occurring in October. He was putting pucks on net more often and used his size more effectively than when he was in the top six.
Bickell has returned to the ice despite being on retroactive injured reserve and could return one week from now against the Vancouver Canucks. Not only is that game likely to be physical, but it comes after the Blackhawks play three games in four nights.
Kent Simpson will likely start at least one of those contests, and despite the Blackhawks outscoring their opponents 19-6 in their last three contests that trend is very unlikely to continue.
What will occur when Bickell is reinserted back into the lineup is a more even distribution of minutes, especially for the third line. Bickell will replace Jeremy Morin on the third line, making the Blackhawks healthy at the forward and defensive positions and positioning the team to get in their midseason form.
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