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No Bryan Bickell no surprise for Hawks

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



VANCOUVER, British Columbia — It may have came as a shock to some, but the Blackhawks knew all along they would be losing winger Bryan Bickell at some point.

Bickell suffered a lacerated tendon April 15 during Game  2 against the Vancouver Canucks when he was cut by a skate. But there was a window that allowed him to play before his scheduled surgery on Monday. He did sit out Game 3 but then made a big impact in the next three games with two goals, an assist and also a crushing shoulder-to-head hit on Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

But as far as the injury was concerned, ‘‘We all knew what was
going on,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said.

So at least there was some time to prepare for the loss of Bickell for Game 7 on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

Bickell had become a solid contributor on Dave Bolland’s checking line, which had the tough task of taking on Canucks stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

‘‘We weren’t sure what was going to happen with him, [but] we knew it was kind of a day-to-day thing,’’ Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘But that’s the reality — we’re missing a key player. He was playing great on that line with [Bolland], checking their top players.”

The Hawks have overcome injuries to players all season, especially in the series against the Canucks. They were without Seabrook for Games 4 and 5 after he suffered a concussion when Raffi Torres struck him in the head with his shoulder.

Winger Tomas Kopecky traveled to Vancouver and took part in the Hawks’ morning skate Tuesday, but he hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury just minutes into the series opener. The Hawks also were without Bolland the first three games of the series as he recovered from a concussion suffered during the regular season.

Bolland and Bickell played extensively together in the regular season, and they found instant chemistry once Bolland returned.

“[Bickell is] a physical presence and has been really good on that line, too, keeping it simple, trying to get pucks in deep and get a lot of hits,” winger Patrick Kane said. “Obviously, we’re going to miss him, especially the way he’s been playing lately. It seems like it’s been that way all year.”

Bickell, who was a plus-4 in the series, is expected to miss up to eight weeks. Marcus Kruger and Fernando Pisani both were inserted in the lineup in Game 7 as tough guy John Scott and Bickell sat out. Troy Brouwer took Bickell’s spot on Bolland’s line with winger Michael Frolik.

‘‘[Bickell is] a big loss, obviously,” Seabrook said. ‘‘He’s scored some goals for us in this series and all season. He’s definitely missed.’’



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