Blackhawks: Bryan Bickell still feeling vertigo symptoms


Blackhawks: Bryan Bickell still feeling vertigo symptoms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Bryan Bickell said he felt like he was staying with the Blackhawks when he talked at the team convention back in July.

And as Blackhawks training camp begins, he is.

“There’s always rumors and thoughts but I felt comfortable from last year to be a Hawk,” Bickell said after the first day of camp finished at the University of Notre Dame. “You don’t want to leave a team like this where we’ve been through, where I’ve started in this system, as a team.”

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Bickell said he tried to tune out the rumors over the summer. Now he’ll try to get his health completely back after a frustrating end to the 2014-15 season. Bickell struggled with vertigo as the Stanley Cup Final began against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He reported feeling better at the convention, not long after he had a tooth pulled. But on Friday, he said he’s still feeling the affects of vertigo.

“There [are] still symptoms over the course of different situations but I’m working on it every day to get better and better and hopefully it leaves sooner than later,” said Bickell, who was frustrated when he was sidelined by it last spring. “You just want to be out there. Then [over] the course of the summer you think things are getting better, then you kind of take a couple steps backwards. But I think these last couple weeks we’re taking the right steps and just need to stick with the system that’s working and hopefully it doesn’t have to take a couple steps backwards. Just keep moving forward.”

Part of Bickell’s moving forward means having a stronger season. He’s still looking to match the play he had in the spring of 2013, when a stellar postseason led to his current four-year, $16-million deal.

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“Bick, I think, is one of those players you’d like to find that consistency in his game. If he puts that all together, he’s that power forward every team craves,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve seen him have good games, good stretches in the playoffs, regular season and in games [he’s had] good moments, but the total package is what we’re looking for. I don’t think anybody has a mulligan to have an ordinary year, in thinking that will be good enough. Everyone should have high standards, consistency; that’s where we want to have him nail it.”

Bickell needs to find that consistency again, especially since the Blackhawks lost several veterans via trade. They need remaining ones to step up and contribute that much more while youngsters/newcomers adjust. As of now, he’s got a chance to do that here.

“Chicago still wants me. And then to be here, to have this moment, I just need to have a great year. This is a crunching year for me to get ready,” Bickell said. “Hopefully I can stay here my whole career. If that was written down on paper, I’d take that for sure.”

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis welcome Nick Gismondi into the fold before discussing Friday's win over Columbus. Robin Lehner played stellar and is forming quite a tandem in net with Corey Crawford (4:10), while the DeBrincat/Kane connection is alive and well (6:10), and the Blackhawks' struggles at even strength continued (12:10). Then, the guys react to the breaking news of Kirby Dach's recall from Rockford and discuss where he might fit into this lineup (15:10).

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.