Forgive Bryan Bickell if he hasn’t been listening intently to all the rumors of where he could or could not be playing next season.
“I have a 10-month-old baby girl, so she keeps me busy. I’m building a house,” Bickell said on Friday. “With a short summer, I’m just looking to get back in shape and get focused for next season. It’s going to be another exciting season. We made moves to help out this team in the cap era, so we’re excited.”
That’s if Bickell remains with the Blackhawks, which may or may not happen. But for Bickell and Kris Versteeg, whose names have been the subject of trade rumors for several weeks, life is keeping them plenty occupied.
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Bickell, right now, sees himself remaining with the Blackhawks.
“I feel like I’m staying. I don’t feel like I’m leaving. I feel comfortable and I’m sure they feel comfortable with what I bring to this team and what I need,” he said. “I don’t want to say I’m replaceable but hopefully I can stay. I’m looking to come here for training camp as a Blackhawk, and hopefully I can stay that way.”
Versteeg has also been spending quality time with family; his son was born just as the Stanley Cup Final began. Versteeg’s also been here before. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs after the 2010 Stanley Cup victory. That summer, he let the trade possibilities consume him; this summer, not so much.
“When you’re younger, you stress maybe about it more. Now you understand it’s a business,” Versteeg said. “It’s pretty crazy. Pretty much anyone in this league can be traded at any given time. Some guys have been traded multiple times. I have. Whatever team I’m with I’ll always bring my best. Hopefully it’ll be with the Blackhawks next year but right now, my main focus is on the summertime.”
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Oh, and Bickell’s health looks like it’s finally improving. The forward suffered from vertigo at the end of the Western Conference Final and felt the effects of it the past few weeks. But he recently had a tooth pulled and has been feeling better since.
“I feel normal now,” he said. “I’ve been working out the last week and getting ready and I feel good, so hopefully that’s it: pull a tooth and your vertigo’s gone. That’s all it takes.”
Health status is one thing. Status with a team is another. Bickell and Versteeg aren’t sure where they’ll be come September. They hope it will be here. They’ve already seen several teammates go, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad to trades and Johnny Oduya to free agency. Whether they’re next is uncertain but they’re too busy to listen to what may or may not happen.
“It’s out of my control. It is what it is,” Bickell said. “You meet a lot of good people good friends that come and go. We’ve seen [Patrick] Sharp and [Brandon] Saad go like they did, now Johnny Oduya. It’s part of the business. We’ve built some good stories together, good history on winning teams. Hopefully I’m here to stay.”