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New dad Versteeg replaces Bickell for Blackhawks in Game 1

Florida Panthers v Chicago Blackhawks

Florida Panthers v Chicago Blackhawks

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The Chicago Blackhawks will see one significant lineup change heading into Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as Kris Versteeg steps in for Bryan Bickell.

It could amount to a tired player replacing a possibly hurt one.

Versteeg’s wife gave birth to Jaxon James Versteeg on Monday, forcing Versteeg to scramble to Toronto. As USA Today’s FTW reports, he’s already been through a “whirlwind” as he plane-hopped back and forth. Luckily, he was at least able to spend some time with his newborn boy, and he already has a strategy for handling a possible baby-in-the-Cup situation.

Of course, the Blackhawks need to win four huge games for that to even be a consideration.

Update: Blackhawks assistant Mike Kitchen said on NHL Network that Bickell’s missing Game 1 for “precautionary reasons,” according to

No doubt about it, it would be a great story if Versteeg can be a difference-maker on the ice.

Here’s how the lines shake out early on:

Meanwhile, it looks like the Bolts are sticking with 11 forwards and seven defensemen: