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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From Saturday’s Game

By Gail Kauchak
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Oct 17, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Cody Goloubef (29) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

2.  Why is Bryan Bickell still playing?  My meathead hockey co-worker reminded me the other day that he was pushing for Bryan Bickell to be traded at the beginning of the season last year.  He’s right; Bicks was mediocre at best all last season. And then he didn’t come through in the playoffs, which is where he is supposed to shine. 

Now here we go again with Bickell being able to play bad and still take up a roster spot.  In the meantime, there are other guys named Marko Dano, Ryan Garbutt, Viktor Tikhonov, Kyle Baun, and Vincent Hinostroza that are getting scratched and sent down to Rockford ahead of Bickell.

Why is there this discrepancy by Coach Q and his staff?  Is it a certain loyalty towards a veteran?  Is it the fact that he is getting paid $4 million?  Whatever it is, it just doesn’t make sense.

Well, Garbutt took a turn on the first line, and was scratched the next game.  Then Tikhonov played on that line and was scratched.  On Saturday, it was Bickell’s turn to play with Toews and Hossa.  Will he be the next casualty?  We shall see.

1.  Defense, light at the end of the tunnel? The defensive pairings for the last three games have pretty much stayed the same.  Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson have been the first pairing, Viktor Svedberg and Brent Seabrook have comprised the second pairing, and Trevor van Riemsdyk and Trevor Daley have made up the third.   I think this consistency has helped everyone to settle in and get more comfortable. 

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Svedberg provided a goal on Thursday night, and he looked pretty solid on Saturday.  He had 2 shots on goal, and got the puck to the net a few other times.  He seemed to do a decent job in front of Crawford on the defensive end.

The pairing of TVR and Daley didn’t show any glaring mistakes, and van Riemsdyk provided the screen on Anisimov’s goal.  He has a goal and an assist to show for himself early in the season.  Daley also earned an assist on TT’s power play goal Saturday night.

Now I know this was the Columbus Blue Jackets, and this pairing did make us all cringe a lot when they played the Washington Capitals.  But at least there seems to be some improvement.

In the meantime, Michal Rozsival skated with the team on Saturday morning.  According to CSN Insider Tracey Myers, he is still at least a few weeks away from being ready.  When he does come back, he might have to earn his spot.  The youngsters are working on making a case for themselves.

There you have it Chicago Blackhawks fans.  The boys are plugging away, and they will have some extra practice time this week to further gel as a team.  Next up in the schedule is the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.  Let’s see if they can pull off some wins!


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