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Chicago Blackhawks’ Hossa On LTIR, Franson Signed, Bickell Honored

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GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29: Bryan Bickell
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29: Bryan Bickell /
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A day before their regular season begins, the Chicago Blackhawks moved to finalize their opening night roster by pushing Marian Hossa to long-term injured reserve and signing Cody Franson

The Chicago Blackhawks are ready for the regular season. Ahead of tomorrow’s opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center, the Blackhawks made a bevy of moves to finalize their opening night roster.

Marian Hossa was at long last placed on long-term injured reserve as a result of his serious skin condition. After that, defenseman Cody Franson was finally signed to a one-year deal that comes with a cap hit of $1 million.

In addition to that, Alex DeBrincat and Gustav Forsling were “recalled” from the AHL after their paper send-downs yesterday. The two were moved down so the team could submit a cap-compliant roster yesterday, with Hossa’s LTIR move — coordinated alongside those of Michal Rozsival and Jordin Tootoo — freeing up the necessary space to bring back DeBrincat and Forsling.

Are you exhausted after just going through those moves? Good thing the Blackhawks are off tonight so we can all recover from the team’s flurry of action. Here’s how the team practiced this morning, as far as line combos and defensive pairings:

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsRichard Panik

Ryan HartmanNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane

Patrick SharpArtem Anisimov-Alex DeBrincat

Lance BoumaTanner KeroJohn Hayden/Tommy Wingles

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Michal KempnyConnor Murphy

Jordan Oesterle-Cody Franson

Gustav Forsling-Jan Rutta

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  • We can talk at length about the Blackhawks’ lineup for tomorrow on that day. This may not even be the exact setup coach Joel Quenneville rolls on. But at least we finally know for certain which guys can take the ice and which guys can’t.

    Today, I’d rather spend some time talking about one more move the Blackhawks made.

    Bryan Bickell retires in Chicago

    Yes, the Blackhawks signed Bickell to a one-day contract so he could retire with the team. He spent almost all of his NHL career in Chicago, playing parts of nine (!) seasons with the Blackhawks before spending last year in the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

    Bickell, as has been highly publicized, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year and was forced to retire from hockey. While he received great support from the Hurricanes and the league, the Blackhawks were always his home team. It’s very appropriate he received the chance to retire as a member of that club.

    Bickell had an emotional press conference today where he discussed being asked back to the Blackhawks, how his health is faring and what on-ice moments he’ll most remember. The last point particularly made Bickell tear up while he was holding one of his young daughters (who was a very vocal participant of the presser).

    You can check out the conference video in the tweet below. Normally, when I see posts advising people to “bring the tissues” before watching something, I roll my eyes. But it’s apt here; the event is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.

    As suggested by Blackhawk Up’s Sean Fitzgerald this morning, I think a “One Last Shift” for Bickell would be particularly appropriate. He has a disease that very likely will severely limit his mobility in the future, and it’s important for the Blackhawks to honor not just those from teams long ago, but also those from teams more recent.

    Bickell was a major factor in the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup in 2013, and he always seemed (and still seems) like a very real, down-to-earth guy. He has a group, The Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation, that works with pit bull dogs and abused children. He’s now living with his family in New Castle, in order to be closer to the rest of his family.

    Next: Analyzing Connor Murphy's Preseason And What's To Come

    Hopefully Bickell is not a stranger to the Blackhawks and their fans in the near future. While it’s very important he spend time with his family and charity efforts, I think it’d be great to see him pop up at the United Center from time to time for various functions.

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