Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Recall Bickell, Lose Tikhonov

By Colin Likas
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DAMNIT, PICKLES!

That could be among the things the Chicago Blackhawks bench hears today as a result of the team recalling Bryan Bickell from Rockford. Bickell spent a little more than a month in the AHL after struggling early in the season for the Blackhawks, but it appears the trip did him well.

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Bickell will apparently play today against the Winnipeg Jets as well, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. Who this leaves out is unclear at this point (Brandon Mashinter, please), but with the success Bickell was having for the IceHogs and the struggles the Blackhawks’ offense is saddled with, this isn’t surprising to see.

The Blackhawks were able to add Bickell by sending Viktor Tikhonov to waivers, where he was claimed today by the team that first drafted him, the Arizona (then Phoenix) Coyotes. The move freed up $950,000 and allowed the Blackhawks to recall Bickell.

In his brief run with the Blackhawks to start the 2015-16 season, Bickell played in just seven games, recording five shots and a minus-3 rating. He was a healthy scratch in a few games as well before the Blackhawks decided to try and spark his game by sending him to the AHL.

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That move paid dividends for Bickell’s confidence, it would seem. Bickell was second on the IceHogs in goals (seven) and points (14) at the time of his call-up. He was also a plus-6 and carrying a ridiculous 21.2 shooting percentage. The Blackhawks probably won’t see that back in Chicago, but they’re hoping to see a little more offensive production and willingness to shoot in general.

Tikhonov, meanwhile, sees his rocky Chicago tenure come to an end. The Russian was signed in the offseason and never got on Joel Quenneville‘s good side, resulting in a bevy of healthy scratches this season. Tikhonov played in just 11 games for the Blackhawks, including only three in November and none in December. He tallied no points, a minus-4 rating and six penalty minutes as he was used by Coach Q on three of the four lines. Tikhonov was never able to establish himself in Chicago, so it’s probably best he moves along instead of languishing in the press box, especially after he just recently came back to the NHL after a long KHL tenure.

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So what will Bickell provide in his return? Although this was never his style prior to being sent down, it’d be nice to see him get in tight to the net whenever possible. It’d also be good to see him better utilize his wrist shot, which has often been among the most-potent on the Blackhawks, but you wouldn’t know it with how little he displays it. More aggressiveness should be the key to Bickell staying in the lineup. With the offense restricted to one line of late, Bickell would have to actively hurt the team to be taken back out of the lineup.

Are you happy to see Bickell back in Chicago? Let us know in the comments section.

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