TAMPA, Fla. —Bryan Bickell doesn’t have a concussion. But he has something, and it’s preventing him from playing in the Stanley Cup Final so far for the Blackhawks.
“I don’t know exactly what it is,” he said after practicing with the team on Friday at Amalie Arena. “It’s something that comes and goes. It could come after I’m done talking to you. I don’t know.”
Bickell didn’t play in the second or third periods of Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final, but stayed on the bench. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville deemed it both a coach’s decision and an injury issue, but offered no specifics. Bickell then was scratched for Game 1 — Bickell said he’s sure he would have played had he said he was OK —on Wednesday despite skating with the team on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. He’s likely out for Game 2 on Saturday, with Kris Versteeg again taking his spot on the second line.
“We did all those concussion tests and everything was clear,” Bickell said. “It’s just how I feel. I want to help out the team, and I don’t want to hurt the team. I’m just taking it day by day.”
Bickell said he hopes he’s close to being ready to play, but simply doesn’t know when he’ll be able to make that decision.
“It could be this afternoon, it could be five minutes before the game,” he said. “I could feel better. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just have to get rest, and hopefully I can go [Saturday].”
Trevor van Riemsdyk is “available” for Game 2, but won’t play, according to Quenneville. It seems more likely that the rookie will play in either Game 3 or 4 at the United Center, when Quenneville can better control the matchups. The mere fact that Quenneville wants to throw a rookie who hasn’t played since Nov. 16 into the Stanley Cup Final is a testament to the impression he left in the 18 games he played in the fall.
“At the beginning of the year, I tried to just play a pretty simple, smart game — just show him that he could rely on me to do the things they ask,” van Riemsdyk said. “That’s how you build trust. It’s nice to see that it’s built up a little bit, and he has that trust in me. But it’s something that’s got to be earned. The beginning of the year went pretty well, and I’m glad that I have that trust.”
Andrew Shaw declined to say whether he bit Victor Hedman after Hedman shoved Patrick Kane, or whether he heard from the NHL about the incident in Game 1.
“It’s a hockey game; he’s one of their best players and he’s a highly skilled, big, strong defenseman with a lot of speed, and he went after one of our better players,” Shaw said. “It creates the scrums, and, you know, just battle out there. I expect battles with him at the front of the net the rest of the series, as well.”
It’s a role Shaw relishes.
“It’s been a part of my game ever since I was a kid,” he said. “I embrace it. I try to draw as many penalties as I can and create as much havoc in front of the net, as well.”