Marian Hossa is feeling better but he won’t play Thursday night, but Bryan Bickell will as the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues.
Andrew Shaw and Artem Anisimov, both suffering upper-body injuries, are out Thursday, as well. Coach Joel Quenneville said Anisimov was questionable-to-doubtful to play Saturday; he added that Shaw was unlikely for Saturday.
Scott Darling will start Thursday night in goal.
Bickell, who was recalled on Wednesday morning, was skating at left wing on the Blackhawks’ third line, with Andrew Desjardins and Dale Weise.
“At this time of the year, his play seems to rise to the challenge of playing important games,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He brings an element, he has all the tools to help our team and had some good games in the minors. We know he seems to get excited about this time and the chance to get back here. I’m sure he’s really excited about getting the opportunity today, and we’ll see how it goes going into next week.”
Hossa (lower body), who participated in morning skate but was not on a line, said he also skated on his own 20 minutes prior to the team session. He said he felt “pretty decent,” but he’s not ready for tonight. If he’s healthy enough to play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he will – “If it’s meant to be and I feel great in a couple of days, I’ll play. If not, the health is more important at this time of the year,” he said.
The fact that he’s skating again so soon was a relief, considering his collision at the end of the game vs. the Boston Bruins didn’t look good.
“Obviously didn’t feel good at all. Just an innocent collision, but the good thing is I’m back quick on the ice,” Hossa said. “At the first moment, I didn’t know what to think. But it’s nice that so quick I feel better and skating again. Obviously try to wait for my turn whenever I’m 100 percent.”
Corey Crawford (upper body) skated again on Thursday. Quenneville is still targeting Crawford to start Saturday’s regular-season finale.
The Blues, much like the Blackhawks, are nursing some injuries. David Backes (lower body) is out and Jay Bouwmeester (upper) and Robby Fabbri (lower) are game-time decisions. But both teams have fared well down the stretch – the Blues have won seven of their last eight games – and that doesn’t surprise Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.
“Both teams, quite frankly, can score their way out of problems, and that’s dangerous for any opponent. When you know you can score your way out of problem, there’s a real inner-confidence that comes over you,” Hitchcock said. “Both teams have confidence that there’s no panic if they’re down a couple of goals. They can come back in games, and that’s a dangerous opponent.”