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.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks return home to face Coyotes tonight on CSN

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Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Schmaltz-Toews-Panik.

There might not be a hotter line in hockey right now than the Blackhawks' trio of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik. They combined for five goals and five assists — highlighted by a hat trick and five-point effort from Toews — in Tuesday's 5-3 win over Minnesota, and were hot before that. Toews has 21 points in his last 12 games. Schmaltz has seven points in his last six, while Panik has nine points in his past six. Is Joel Quenneville simply riding the hot hand or could this be a line that sticks together for a while even when they inevitably cool off?

2. Can power play get going again?

The Blackhawks are 0-for-8 on the power play in their last three games after converting on six of their previous 14 attempts. They went 2-for-4 during their last meeting, which resulted in a 4-3 victory. Arizona has allowed at least a power play goal in six of their last 10 games, including three of their last four, and owns a bottom-five penalty kill unit at 77.1 percent. If that area gets going for the Blackhawks, look out. 

3. Marian Hossa's recent success vs. Arizona.

Hossa has six goals and three assists in his last six games against the Coyotes dating back to 2014-15, recording at least a point in each of those games, and helping lead the Blackhawks to a 5-0-1 record. He's scored a goal in each of those last three, and will look to continue his success against an Arizona team whose 49 points ranked second-to-last in the NHL.

4. Martin Hanzal heating up as trade deadline nears.

The 30-year-old center has five goals in his last six contests, and will be a hot commodity over the next week as the March 1 trade deadline approaches. He could be an option for the Blackhawks if they want to bolster their center depth, but it's looking more and more unlikely as the asking price will be high and there will be many bidders. Expect a tweak more than a large addition.

5. Artemi Panarin quietly heating up.

Due to the emergence of Schmaltz-Toews-Panik that has been earning all the attention, Panarin is flying under the radar as of late. He has nine points in his last eight games that's gotten lost in the shuffle, and is tied for 16th in the league in scoring. He's only three points away from re-entering the top-10. And there's a chance he could have a big night. In five career games against Arizona, the 25-year-old Russian winger has two goals and six assists. That's an average of 1.60 points per game.

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