Hawks' Bickell back in lineup after a month
Chicago Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell is expected to return to the lineup for the first time in nearly a month on Tuesday night when the Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators.
After being activated from injured reserve Monday, the physical forward told coach Joel Quenneville he was good to go during Tuesday's morning skate, having fully recovered from the lower-body injury he sustained during the team's Nov. 19 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
"It was a long month," Bickell said. "It felt like it was a year, but just to get the chemistry back with the guys, I know [Quenneville] wants me out there, and I want to be out there, too. To see the team and the way it's been going, hopefully I can help out in any way."
Bickell was the first player to take the ice at the team's morning skate Tuesday and manned left wing on the third line alongside center Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. The 27-year-old has missed 14 games since crashing into a goal post during the first period at Colorado.
"He's got presence, his size and physicality gives u some options," Quenneville said. "Hopefully, that can be a good line for us. They all bring a little bit something different as a group of three, and it could be a dangerous line as well."
Before his injury, Bickell had five goals and one assist in 22 games -- a pace rivaling his production in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, when he scored nine goals in the 48-game regular season before transforming into a playoff hero with nine goals and eight assists during the team's Stanley Cup run.
With their full complement of forwards healthy again, the Blackhawks expect to enjoy the flexibility of shuffling their offensive weapons in an effort to avenge a mid-November blowout loss in their first trip to Nashville.
"Now that we got everybody, you can try things," Quenneville said. "We'll see, they'll dictate how it works as well, but you got some guys on the left and the right side that can flip, and you can move guys around and I don't think we lose a lot of what we're looking for, and that's all lines contributing."
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