Blackhawks

Bickell fired up after being benched

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Bickell fired up after being benched

COLUMBUS, Ohio A healthy scratch. No player enjoys that status come game time. Bryan Bickell is no exception.

Bickell was scratched for the Blackhawks 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, a move that broke up the checking line of he, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik that had been together dating back to last spring.

The left wing had a tough go at training camp but was playing that gritty, physical game the Blackhawks want from him in early season games. But hes struggled as of late and on Tuesday he was out of the lineup.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Bickell, but hes using it for motivation.

I know the reasons why (I was scratched), said Bickell, who was back on the reworked checking line with Marcus Kruger and Frolik on Wednesday. But it definitely gets me fired up for the next game to prove that I belong in the lineup and he Joel Quenneville has no reason to take me out.

Bickell said hell remember those early games when he gets back into the lineup. And hell try to relax.

I think Ive been thinking too much and gripping the stick too tight, he said. Its just keeping it simple. Its just (about) playing my game, being physical and being in the corners. Thats what I needed to do to improve my game.

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Can the healthy scratch be good motivation for struggling players, or does it shake their confidence more? Tell us below.

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

He’s back.

Corey Crawford was officially activated from injured reserve on Thursday and will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes.

"It’s exciting," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."

The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks have assigned forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.

For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: