Blackhawks: Bickell heading back to Rockford, Gustafsson returns to lineup


Blackhawks: Bickell heading back to Rockford, Gustafsson returns to lineup

Erik Gustafsson will play, as will Marian Hossa, when the Blackhawks host the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the United Center.

As for Bryan Bickell, he cleared waivers and has been reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs. It’s the second time Bickell has been sent to the Blackhawks’ minor-league affiliate in an attempt to spark his game. Bickell hasn’t played here since Jan. 8.

Coach Joel Quenneville added that the Blackhawks’ cap situation and number of players they had up here were also factors. But, Quenneville added, “the bottom line is it comes down to performance.”

“Every player has his own situation you have to look at. He had a tough start to the beginning of the year where he went down for a while, getting back up here and getting re-established. Then all of a sudden it slowed down again and here you are again down,” Quenneville said. “It’s a tough situation. You have to take what you can do and do everything you can to play as well as you can to help yourself. Everybody’s career paths are different. It’s a very competitive business we’re in; everybody wants to be here.”

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Teammates were disappointed to see Bickell going through this again.

“It is tough. You’ve got to look at it is a business, though. Stuff like that does happen,” Andrew Shaw said. “Look at the positive, too: he is going to go down there and play. He’s going to get his ice time. It’s tough to get better if you’re not playing. He’s going to go down there and get back to enjoying the game and getting his head clear.”

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Jonathan Toews said, “Bicks has been part of this group for a long time. Decisions like that are out of our control as players. But when he’s here we try to do our best to make him feel a part of the team, and he can excel as best he can. At times he did play good hockey this year. It’s tough. It hurts your confidence. When you have a lot of success, lot of opportunity over the number of years and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you it’s a tough thing to overcome and battle through. He’s being professional and doing his best to do that.”

As for Gustafsson, the defenseman said he tweaked his right knee when he was hit into the boards in Tuesday’s game against Colorado. He tried to give it a go at Thursday’s morning skate in Montreal but it it didn’t work. Gustafsson said he feels much better now.

Corey Crawford gets the start tonight.

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

The Blackhawks have banned the four fans — who were ejected from Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals for their racist remarks towards Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly — from future home games.

On Monday, a Blackhawks spokesperson released this statement:

We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also wanted to remind fans that they can alert security at the United Center by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.

Blackhawks deal Michal Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick


Blackhawks deal Michal Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick. Kempny had seven points in 31 games this season.

Kempny, 27, recorded 15 points in 81 career games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an assist in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Capitals.

Kempny signed a one-year extension through the end of this season back in May.