On Wednesday morning, the Blackhawks took to the ice for their first practice since Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. There were quite a few players missing from the skate and the lines that were being used weren’t exactly what you would call very formidable. The injured Patrick Kane did not participate and which should have not have surprised anyone neither did Jonathan Toews. Patrick Sharp, Michal Handzus and Johnny Oduya were all given maintenance days off. We know now that Bryan Bickell will be making his return to the lineup Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild and Corey Crawford will get the start in goal. After practice it was announced that Toews will be out the remainder of the regular season but will be ready to go for the post season opener. This is the right move to do even if the injury "isn’t serious" like Joel Quenneville has been saying. There is no need to have teams, like the St Louis Blues on Sunday, taking unnecessary shots at the captain. Joakim Nordstrom has been recalled from Rockford as well.
So, where does Q go from here? For the last few seasons the Blackhawks have been heralded for their organizational depth. These next nine days will put that to the test. It looks like Andrew Shaw will get a shot a centering the top line. If there was ever a time for the training wheels to come off of Teuvo Teravainen now would be that time, right? RIGHT??? I have listed below how I feel Q should fill out his lines starting against the Wild. We all know that what we feel Q should do and what he actually does are sometimes very far apart.
Patrick Sharp – Andrew Shaw – Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg– Michal Handzus – Bryan Bickell
If you thought that Q’s line blender was crazy and frustrating before, you haven’t seen anything yet! My advice to all of you is to not get too high or low about anything we see over the last six games of the regular season. Just sit back and enjoy the laughable moments, not funny just laughable, we are sure to see down the stretch. Unless something completely bizarre occurs, the Blackhawks will be opening the playoffs in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche so just let these games run their course. Hey, at least you didn’t pay a crap load of money for a trip to Nashville next weekend to see the IceHogs battle the Admirals like I did.
How do you want the lines to look?