Stalberg ready; Kane, Hossa still sidelined

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Stalberg ready; Kane, Hossa still sidelined

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
3:32 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Viktor Stalberg should be back Wednesday night when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators but Patrick Kane who didnt practice Tuesday and Marian Hossa will be out until after Christmas.

Stalberg has been cleared to play after he was boarded last Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche. Stalberg said he went through the battery of tests to make sure all was fine.

Ive been cleared with the league in terms of protocol, said Stalberg, who left last Wednesdays game immediately after that hit. I got caught along the boards it was a pretty physical game. (Ryan OByrne) finished his check and hit me in a bad spot. Its one of those things that happens. It couldve been worse, and now Im ready to get back.

Hossa looked good at practice on Tuesday, and he stayed on the ice long after his teammates were gone. Kane (left ankle), meanwhile, did not skate. Coach Joel Quenneville said there was no need to rush him with just one game remaining before Christmas.

Weve got three days off (after Wednesday) and hes still able to do a lot off the ice, Quenneville said. The conditionings going to be right for the game conditions; its just a matter of him feeling good on the ice. Its not too far away with him, either. The fact that hes not on the ice, I dont think you should think hes far away.

Bickell surging

Bryan Bickell has been on an offensive tear this month. Bickell has tallied points in six of his last seven games, including five goals.

Hes got that shot and quick release. Hes got nice hands and protects well in tight areas, said Quenneville of Bickell, whos been part of a strong checking line with Dave Bolland and Fernando Pisani. Those guys got quality ice time. When that line scores, it sets us up for a pretty good night.

Bickell said hes just felt confident in his shot lately.

Yeah, good things when you throw it on net. Lately theyve just been going in and hopefully they just keep going in, Bickell said. When they go in I enjoy it, but we have to keep on the winning way, keep this team going.

The 24-year-old got off to a strong start in early games. But when his game dipped a few weeks later, he was a scratch. Bickell said Quenneville talked to him about picking his game up, and hes been solid on both sides recently.

There are going to be roller coasters. I had to be more focused on what I needed to do game in and game out. I had to be more consistent, and my play over the last couple of weeks going really good. I have to keep it more consistent, thats basically it.

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

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.