Bickell has wrist surgery, will miss 6-8 weeks

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Bickell has wrist surgery, will miss 6-8 weeks

Monday, April 25, 2011
Posted: 5:34 p.m. Updated: 8:46 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Blackhawks have ridden the roller-coaster of teammate emotions during this series against the Vancouver Canucks. Theyve experienced euphoria when Dave Bolland returned for Game 4. They dealt with frustration and anger at the two-game loss of Brent Seabrook. And now theyre taking a downturn on that ride again.

Bryan Bickell underwent surgery today to repair a lacerated tendon in his wrist that he suffered in Game 2, Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement today. Bickell, who according to the statement just wanted to play as much as he could before the inevitable surgery, will fully recover in 6-8 weeks.

Its just one more thing for the Blackhawks, who got into the playoffs thanks to Minnesota, struggled without the checking and stabilizing abilities of Bolland and played inspired hockey without Seabrook. Bickell has brought his own strong outings to these playoffs, as hes been part of that successful checking (and scoring) line with Bolland and Michael Frolik.

Oh yeah, and then theres a Game 7 and a likely very angry Vancouver Canucks team to contend with on Tuesday night. Half this team went through the Stanley Cup playoff fire last season. Consider this one more test for them and the new Blackhawks, some of whom have caught up quickly in these playoffs.

So what do the Blackhawks do now? Theyll have to take the approach they have these last three games, regardless of who has or hasnt been in the lineup: its another elimination game, theyre a man down and they need everyone to contribute and play their best road game of this series.

The Blackhawks did that in Game 5. From Duncan Keiths monster night on one end of the ice to Corey Crawfords 36 stops at the other, the Blackhawks were focused. They need that again.

We think all year long weve been effective on the road, Quenneville said following Sundays Game 6 overtime victory that forced this Game 7. We want to sustain it, keep it. We expect a fun building.

One mans fun building is anothers hostile environment with a very angry team on the other side. The Canucks played arguably their best game of the series on Sunday and barely lost. Despite all the talk of mind blocks and unknown starting goaltenders, the Canucks are going to come out angry, determined and opportunistic. The Blackhawks cant expect anything less.

The Blackhawks won on Sunday despite their top players once again going quiet. Their top line was Bollands, which supplied three regulation goals. Rookie Ben Smith, who now has three goals this postseason as many as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp combined was the surprising overtime hero. Coaches always welcome checking-line scoring. Its a bonus. But he needs his top lines to do it.

The legs have to be there, too. Henrik Sedin said after Game 6 that the Blackhawks were tired. Considering the Hawks third and overtime, he may be onto something. Facing one-goal deficits a couple times on Sunday, the Blackhawks forwards got a lot of work. Some were double-shifting. John Scott, thrown on the fourth line to keep the peace, played just one minute.

Now theyre minus another forward and someone will have to step in with Bolland and Frolik. Those two still have great chemistry and they should probably stay together at this point.

The Blackhawks have already had to deal with some things in this series. A good deal of it was self-inflicted, with their going down 0-3 to the No. 1 Canucks. Still, theyve worked regulars back into the lineup, worked around injuries and worked their way back. Theyre on the verge of making history, becoming this seasons Philadephia Flyers. Theyve dug down deep once or twice already. Theyll have to do it at least one more time.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Perhaps the best thing about the Johnny Oduya trade back to the Blackhawks, for both parties involved, was that Oduya wasn't needed immediately.

It's not that the Blackhawks didn't want the veteran defenseman, who helped them win Cups in 2013 and 2015, back in the lineup as soon as possible. Oduya was coming off an ankle injury, one he re-aggravated and missed about a month when he was with the Dallas Stars. He needed time to fully heal and with the Blackhawks in good shape in the standings and with solid depth at defense, he could.

Now with the playoffs right around the corner, Oduya is feeling more like himself.

Outside of missing two games that were the second halves of back-to-backs, Oduya has been playing steadily since March 9. Oduya's minutes have ranged from around 16 to 21 in games. He said he's now 100 percent healthy from his injury and he's feeling the difference on the ice.

"It makes a big difference," Oduya said on Thursday, prior to facing the Stars for the first time since his trade back to Chicago. "I mean, obviously sometimes you get more or less lucky, depending on what you get and the style of play and what you do or not. Skating is a part of my game I try to use as much as possible to get in good position and try to take away time from the opposition as much as possible.

"Even with battling and things like that, of course it's nice to feel more confident," Oduya added. "In any situation, you're in you want to feel confident on the ice."

The Blackhawks have seen that confidence in previous postseason runs and are looking to see it again in Oduya. Coach Joel Quenneville considers Oduya, "Mr. Reliability."

"You look back at what he delivered for us, not just the regular season, but he's been solid and reliable in the playoffs. He's assumed some important matchups and important minutes," Quenneville said. "Last year, we didn't have him on the back end and watching him this year, it was the perfect fit him coming back."

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The Blackhawks' defensive group hasn't changed much since Oduya's first stint here. The system probably hasn't been altered much, either. Still, Oduya's not taking anything for granted and is trying to get back on the same page quickly.

"Same as the last time I came into a great hockey team and I really just want to get up to speed and up to date as quickly as possible," Oduya said. "Little things that may have changed. I want to fit in as well as I can. That's the idea anyone has coming in late in the year. The guys here make it pretty easy; the coaching staff is familiar with the way I play and helps speed up things a little more."

The Blackhawks are trying to be their best heading into the postseason. So is Oduya. He needed a little extra time to get back to health and he may still need a little time to get back to speed, but he's just about there. 

"I feel pretty good. Of course it's a lot easier when you have guys around you you've seen before, a coaching staff," Oduya said. "It's a work in progress, anyway. I want to be better, I want to evolve with the team and want us to be better, too. It's a work in progress."

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.