Dec 5, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with right wing Kris Versteeg (23), right wing Patrick Kane (88), and center Brad Richards (91) after scoring a goal during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Players who slumped in past have stepped up.
Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell are the two main players that previously just were not getting it done for the Chicago Blackhawks; especially with the salaries they are being paid. Unfortunately Kris Versteeg went out in the Winter Classic game after taking a puck off of his hand which fractured it. That was more or less just a freak accident and will only keep him out around a month; it has been very promising however seeing that he was back to the speed and skill we expect from him. In 34 games played he had scored 9 goals and assisted 18 times which was good for 27 points and a +14. His play really had helped bolster that second line.
With the injury to Kris Versteeg and him being out at least a month it has opened a spot on the second line. Bryan Bickell has been bumped up into that spot and he has stepped up in his all-around game producing 4 goals in his last 5 games. His net presence has been there and the physicality Coach Q looks for out of him has probably earned him more ice time and a permanent spot on the second line, at least until Kris Versteeg returns. I believe when you get Bryan Bickell involved that is what creates success. Take a look back to all the playoff games when he has been placed in the top 6. If his play continues the way it has been as of late, teams will find it hard to keep up with the Blackhawks.