CALGARY, Alberta – The Blackhawks may be thousands of miles away from Chicago and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, right now. But they’ve kept an eye on IceHogs box scores, and how Bryan Bickell is putting up big numbers in them.
And as Bickell looks like he’s regaining confidence in his game, one wonders if he soon regains a spot in the Blackhawks’ lineup.
Bickell has eight points (four goals, four assists) in five games with the IceHogs. So could he be back soon?
“We’ll see,” coach Joel Quenneville said following the Blackhawks’ optional practice on Thursday. “It’s something we talk about, ‘How’s Bick doing?’ Reports are great. We’re happy for him. Let’s hope he keeps doing it and we’ll see.”
The Blackhawks sent Bickell to Rockford on Nov. 2. The move came after plenty of healthy scratches and placing him on waivers as the regular season began. Bickell has struggled with his game and, in turn, his confidence; consistency has been an issue since he signed his four-year, $16-million deal out of the 2013 Stanley Cup run.
But it looks like the trip to Rockford is having the right effect on Bickell’s game.
“I’ve definitely been checking those box scores and happy to see him doing so well and getting that swagger back to his game, or whatever it may be,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “He’s a great guy. I definitely had time to talk to him when he was up and we rode to the airport together a couple of times. He’s an awesome guy and excited and really happy he’s doing so well down there.”
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
Quenneville isn’t tipping his hand on when Bickell could return. But given Bickell’s current hot streak, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Blackhawks recall him soon.
“You commend him on having the right attitude when he went down there, doing everything he can to play the best he can play, knowing he wants to be in our league,” Quenneville said. “And we’ll see.”
— Teuvo Teravainen may miss a few games with his upper-body injury, Quenneville said. The forward played a few minutes into the second period before heading to the locker room on Wednesday night.
— Scott Darling will start against the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
— Andrew Desjardins, who has been a healthy scratch for the past three games, is likely to draw back into the lineup with Teravainen sidelined.