Carolina Hurricanes

Emotional Bryan Bickell retires with Blackhawks: 'I didn't want it any other way'

Emotional Bryan Bickell retires with Blackhawks: 'I didn't want it any other way'

Bryan Bickell got the call from the Blackhawks not long after he played his final game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a call offering him the opportunity to retire with the team with which he won three Stanley Cups.

“I didn’t want it any other way,” Bickell said.

Bickell’s retirement talk on Wednesday was reminiscent of so many of the media interviews he gave: sometimes funny, sometimes emotional and completely honest. The former Blackhawks forward, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly a year ago, fought back tears as he talked of his time with the team, ending everything here and his health — which is improving.

“Every day, every month is getting better,” Bickell said. “There are good days and bad days but there’s more good than bad. Things are going the right way. The treatments and technology they come out with every month, every year, it’s outstanding. Hopefully one day we find a cure and I hope we find help to do that.”

Bickell will keep being active in the fight against MS — “I want to tell my story, what I went through, just inspire other people to get diagnosed and the experience with their families.” As for hockey, maybe he’ll get involved with that again in the future.

“I want to get back into hockey,” he said. “I have two young girls, 3 and 1, and watching them grow is the first thing I want to do and see where it goes from there. Work with kids and things like that would be a goal for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bickell’s playing career ended way too prematurely. It ended as well as it could have, with Bickell fighting back to play in the Carolina Hurricanes’ final few regular-season games last spring and him scoring a shootout goal — “my shooting percentage is 50 percent, which is nice,” he said to laughs. When the news came down that he would retire with the Blackhawks he was inundated with messages. Bickell gave the Blackhawks his best; his retiring with them was a fitting, “thank you.”

“It was nice to see the respect,” Bickell said. “I know the news came out last night [on my retiring here] and seeing all the texts, the media and just all the respect for me and the team has built in the city, it’s an honor to be part of it. To finish here, it’s awesome.”

CSN announces 2017-18 Blackhawks TV schedule

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AP

CSN announces 2017-18 Blackhawks TV schedule

The Blackhawks announced their complete television schedule for the 2017-18 season season on Wednesday.

For the 13th consecutive season, CSN is your home for Blackhawks coverage. All CSN Blackhawks games can be live streamed on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app. In addition, Blackhawks Pregame Live will air before every CSN game and Postgame Live will immediately follow each game. 

CSN's regular-season coverage of the Blackhawks kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 5 as the Hawks welcome the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins into the United Center for the season opener.

Some highlights of CSN's Blackhawks coverage includes: a home matchup with the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators on Oct. 27, a road tilt with former Blackhawk Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 24, a home game against a trio of former Blackhawks and the Carolina Hurricanes on March 8 and all three matchups against the Vegas Golden Knights (Oct. 24, Jan. 5 and Feb. 13).

Check out the full Blackhawks' 2017-18 TV schedule below:

Hello, again: Thanks to former Blackhawks, Marcus Kruger expects easy transition in Carolina

Hello, again: Thanks to former Blackhawks, Marcus Kruger expects easy transition in Carolina

When Marcus Kruger debuted for the Blackhawks at the end of the 2010-11 season, he joined a team that was coming off a Stanley Cup victory/post-Cup purge and was trying to recapture a winning formula. During that time, he gained a wealth of experience and was a valuable part of the Blackhawks’ 2013 and 2015 Cups.

Now he’s the latest former Blackhawks player headed to the Carolina Hurricanes, who hope to turn his and others’ winning pedigrees into success there.

The 27-year-old Kruger joked that, “I’m probably one of the older guys now,” with Carolina. The Hurricanes do have their share of youth but thanks to their offseason moves they also have a strong crop of experience – and Blackhawks. Kruger joins Trevor van Riemsdyk, Scott Darling, Teuvo Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom, the latter four all part of the 2015 Cup team. They also added Justin Williams, who’s won three Cups (his first came with the Hurricanes in 2006).

“We’re a very young team trying to find its way, and we think the guys we picked up aren’t only just very good players, but also good guys and winners,” Carolina general manager Ron Francis said “That’s invaluable in a locker room.”

Francis and Kruger have talked about the upcoming season but admits Kruger’s role on this team is, “wide open.” Kruger was never a big goal scorer with the Blackhawks but he was a key part of the penalty kill and improved on faceoffs. He was also someone coach Joel Quenneville could count on at critical times. He lined up with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik during the 2013 run and was part of the play that led to Bolland’s Cup-winning goal in Game 6. He was also on a dependable line with Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins during the 2015 run.

“He’s had a lot of tough assignments and handled those extremely well. It shows his maturity, ability to play in different ways and styles,” Francis said. “It’s the leadership, the on-ice ability to show guys what it takes to be a part of the team and that team is first and foremost important. When you buy into that, there’s more chance of winning. We liked [Kruger] as a player and person and what he brings as a leader as well.”

In reshaping their roster, the Hurricanes wanted more experience and proven winners. Kruger is the latest to bring that.

“You always want to do as much as you can to help the team out. You certainly want to take a step and get better and better,” Kruger said. “I’ll go there, do my best and take the opportunity that’s given. We’ll see how it pays out but I’ll do my best.”