Blackhawks

Could Bryan Bickell return to Blackhawks soon?

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Could Bryan Bickell return to Blackhawks soon?

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?

[MORE: Blackhawks start Circus Trip with OT win over Oilers]

“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.”

UPDATES

— 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.

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.

The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.

He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.

Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.

Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.

Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

Mark Lazerus and Hub Arkush join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Corey Crawford’s return and what it means for the team’s playoff chances.

Khalil Mack misses practice again. The guys debate if it would be better to leave him out vs. the Patriots.

The latest on the MLB playoffs with controversy in Houston and gamesmanship by the Brewers.

Will Perdue and Kendall Gill join the panel to discuss Kris Dunn’s absence from the opener and the team’s playoff chances this season.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.

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