Blackhawks recall Marko Dano, reassign Bryan Bickell to Rockford


Blackhawks recall Marko Dano, reassign Bryan Bickell to Rockford

The Blackhawks are still looking to stoke their offense. So on Monday morning they recalled a young player with plenty of potential – and reassigned a long-struggling forward.

Marko Dano was recalled from Rockford while Bryan Bickell was sent to the IceHogs, as the Blackhawks prepped for their game against the Los Angeles Kings tonight.

Dano being brought up wasn’t particularly surprising. He was apparently a healthy scratch in the IceHogs’ game on Sunday night. The 20-year-old Dano has seven points, including six assists, in nine games with the IceHogs this season. Dano was at left wing on the Blackhawks’ third line – with Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman – on Monday morning. Dano and Kero played together some in Rockford, so there’s some familiarity there.

“They had success down there; right off the bat here, there’s something there,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They can score and they bring speed to our lineup as well. Defensively they all have a purpose to our game. I think they can help us in ways. That predictability of having a four-line rotation is something that’s been sporadic for us all year, and hopefully they can stabilize and give us something consistent that way.”

[RELATED: Panarin getting his top-line chance]

Dano was reassigned to the IceHogs on Oct. 2, a few days before the season began. The 20-year-old forward said he understood why the move happened.

“I felt like I hadn’t done that well to make the team. There were better guys who played better than me, so I understand it,” Dano said. “It happened last year in Columbus, and now I know what to do and just kept working and now I’m back.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Bickell was placed on waivers on Oct. 2, when the Blackhawks tried to get the big forward’s game going again. But after clearing, Bickell still wasn’t finding consistency in his game. He was a healthy scratch for several games lately. Since Bickell has played in just seven games since being placed on waivers, the Blackhawks could just send him to Rockford instead of going through the waiver process again.

Quenneville said Bickell went through the expected emotions when he got the news.

“I think when he went on waivers that day he knew this day could happen. It happened, so he was obviously disappointed,” Quenneville said. “It’s always a tough day when you tell a guy like Bicks, who’s been around for a while, that he has to go down. That’s the business we’re in.”

Teammates also felt for Bickell’s situation.

“I think it’s obviously probably pretty tough on him. But again, it’s one of those things that maybe you have to try to move with it. I think he’ll probably do what he can to get better and to come back,” Andrew Desjardins said. “It’s one of those things, it’s hard to comment on because it’s hard; you don’t know the feelings. Obviously there a lot of emotions that go along with that.”


How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload


How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut


Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!