The Chicago Blackhawks were dealt a pretty big blow today as they will be without big bodied forward Bryan Bickell for three weeks as he has undergone surgery to repair damaged tendons in his wrist. Looking back in the series Bickell seemed to suffer a wrist injury during game two in Vancouver and was held out of game three in Chicago.
However Bickell did return to the ‘Hawks lineup in game four and since his return he has had a point in each of the ‘Hawks wins including two goals. The question now is who replaces Bickell on the third line with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik, one option might be Tomas Kopecky who has reportedly made the trip to Vancouver.
Kopecky has been out since game one in Vancouver where he played only 2 minutes before leaving the game with an upper body injury, what was thought to be a concussion. Kopecky would hopefully be able to match Bickell’s physicality and grit that is needed on the ‘Hawks shutdown line.
If Kopecky is unable to go it is likely that rookie Marcus Kruger will be reinserted in the lineup and hulking forward John Scott will also stay in the lineup. Kruger has been solid in his limited playoff action, notching his first career NHL point and has been a plus-2 as well. Scott on the other hand has provided little benefit to the ‘Hawks lineup playing under a minute in game six.
Personally I would like to see Kruger and Kopecky in the ‘Hawks lineup come game seven as Kopecky provides playoff experience and grit while Kruger provides solid two way play and someone who can provide the ‘Hawks with more that just a minute of ice time.
It is sad that Bickell will not get a chance to play in this much anticipated game seven but it also provides others with the opportunity to step up in is absence and maybe push the ‘Hawks past the Canucks and into the second round.