Trevor van Riemsdyk could be an option for Game 1 vs. Lightning

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Blackhawks defenseman Kyle Cumiskey (26) defends against Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Maroon in Game 7 of the Western Conference final. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will travel with the Blackhawks to Tampa and could be an option for the opening games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 23-year-old van Riemsdyk, who played 18 games with the Hawks at the start of the season, has not played in the NHL since Nov. 16, when he suffered a knee injury against the Dallas Stars. He was rehabilitating that injury with the minor-league Rockford IceHogs in March when he suffered the wrist injury, which required surgery.

The Hawks recalled van Riemsdyk from Rockford on May 22 and has been working toward his return. The Hawks are thin on defense after veteran Michal Rozsival suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Game 4 against the Minnesota Wild on May 7.

Kyle Cumiskey (11:14 average time-on-ice), Kimmo Timonen (9:26) and David Rundblad (7:25) played limited minutes in the conference final. Duncan Keith (32:58), Brent Seabrook (29:39), Niklas Hjalmarsson (29:18) and Johnny Oduya (26:40) played 85.8 percent of the defensive corps minutes vs. the Ducks. (They played 79.0 percent in the first round against the Predators when Rozsival was healthy.)

Coach Joel Quenneville said van Riemsdyk skated in Chicago on Monday and the Hawks will gauge his progress in practice Tuesday in Tampa. Cumiskey and Rundblad figure to play in Game 1 if van Riemsdyk is not ready.

Kruger, Bickell ready

Forwards Marcus Kruger and Bryan Bickell, neither of whom finished Game 7 against the Ducks, are “fine” and ready to play in Game 1 against the Lightning, Quenneville said.

Bickell played just one shift in the final two periods —a result of a coaching decision and and perhaps getting dinged. “It was my decision, but a little of both,” Quenneville said.

Looking for more

Bickell, who scored 16 goals and 37 points in 42 playoff games in the 2013 and 2014 playoffs, still has not scored a goal this year. He has five assists, is a plus-3 and leads the NHL in hits.

“He had a real good Game 6, a good response in a tough game,” Quenneville said. “Physically he has to bring it; he adds that element to our team that helps us. Obviously some scoring, but going to the net, being hard to play against, bring some pace.”

Road warriors

The Hawks will not have home-ice advantage for the third time in four series this postseason. But they are 5-4 on the road this year and have won at least one road game in 16 consecutive playoff series.

The Lightning had the best home record in the NHL in the regular season (32-8-1, outscoring opponents 141-89), but they are 5-5 at home in the playoffs, and have been outscored 33-27.

Nuclear option?

Quenneville predictably would not say if he will continue to play Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the same line in the Stanley Cup Final as he did in Games 6 and 7 against the Ducks.

“We’ll see,” he said. “It’s nice having some flexibility and we still haven’t made up our mind yet.”

In 2013, Quenneville turned to the “nuclear option” of Toews and Kane in Games 4 and 5 of the conference final against the Kings, and the Hawks won both games to clinch the series. He split them up for the first three games of the Final against the Bruins, but reunited them in Game 4 after the Hawks fell behind 2-1 in the series. The The Hawks won Games 4, 5 and 6 to win their second Cup in four seasons.

But Quenneville said that would not have a bearing on what he does this year.

“I think it was a matchup thing [against the Bruins] and we’ll see,” Quenneville said. “But it’s not going to influence the decision.”

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