Bryan Bickell out weeks, Marian Hossa back vs. Jets

Bryan Bickell out weeks, Marian Hossa back vs. Jets
November 21, 2013, 1:30 pm
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Bryan Bickell will miss the next two to three weeks with what looks to be a left ankle injury, but Marian Hossa returns Thursday night when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Winnipeg Jets.

Bickell was injured when he slid into the Colorado net in the first period on Tuesday night. Replays showed his left ankle hitting the goal post hard. Jeremy Morin was recalled from Rockford in Bickell’s absence.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks get a boost with Hossa’s return. The right wing skated on Tuesday in Colorado but said he still wasn’t feeling good enough to play. Thursday, however, was much better.

“Today was the best I’ve felt in the last few days, so I’m ready to go,” Hossa said. “I didn’t feel good enough in Colorado. I felt like a couple of days would help, and today’s much better.”

[MORE: Antti Raanta's trial by fire should continue in Winnipeg]

Hossa was playing some stellar hockey before his latest injury, which he said is not related to the back issue that affected him in the Stanley Cup Final and the beginning of this season. Now, it’s about getting that timing back.

“It’s not fun to be me,” he said jokingly. “But I just have to go back to the short shifts and get the feel of the game again. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.”

Hossa’s return certainly helps the Blackhawks on both ends of the ice — maybe even more defensively, considering how many goals the Blackhawks have given up in two of their last three games.

“Hoss makes a big difference coming back in our lineup,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He solidifies our team game and offensively and defensively plays important minutes for us. His effectiveness of how we want to play is really enhanced.”

In other injury news, center Michal Handzus (upper body) will meet the team when they get to Vancouver. Quenneville was uncertain when the veteran would play, however. Defenseman Mike Kostka (lower body) is “skating and progressing,” Quenneville said. If Kostka does come on this trip, Quenneville said it would probably be toward the end of it.