Surgery knocks Bickell out of Hawks' Game 7
- Photos (1)
The Hawks' Bryan Bickell gets hit near his right wrist by the Canucks' Mikael Samuelsson in Game 6 Sunday night.
George LeClaire | Staff Photographer
There was drama even on Monday's off-day in this memorable first-round playoff series between the Blackhawks and the Canucks that will be decided Tuesday night in Game 7 at Rogers Arena.
The most concerning news for the Hawks was left wing Bryan Bickell unexpectedly undergoing right-wrist surgery to repair two tendons that were damaged in Game 2 when he was cut by a skate. Bickell would miss 6-8 weeks should the Hawks advance, but the immediate impact for Game 7 is the biggest worry for coach Joel Quenneville since Bickell had been playing on the Hawks' impact line with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik.
Bickell scored a goal and saw more than 18 minutes of ice time in Sunday's overtime win, but it was obvious there was concern for longer-term damage to the wrist if he were to continue playing.
Tomas Kopecky, out since Game 1 with an upper-body injury, traveled to Vancouver with his teammates, but Quenneville wouldn't say if the veteran was ready to return.
"Kopy is progressing and coming on the trip, but we'll see for (Game 7)," Quenneville said. Meanwhile, there were the Canucks and their issues Monday, which included coach Alain Vigneault naming goalie Roberto Luongo his Game 7 starter and general manager Mike Gillis calling a news conference to complain about the officiating in the series.
Some believed the decision by Vigneault to start rookie goalie Cory Schneider instead of Luongo in Game 6 was a move made by a desperate coach seeing the series slipping away.
Less than 24 hours later it was a desperate Gillis looking for an edge in Game 7 by criticizing the officiating in the series, particularly the work of referees Kelly Sutherland and Wes McCauley in Game 6.
"I thought we played the best game of the series and I felt if it was a level playing field we would have won the game," Gillis said.
The Hawks have had 11 more power plays than the Canucks in the first six games (27-16) and had a 4-2 advantage Sunday. Gillis said he thought the Hawks could have had 6 or 7 more penalties in Game 6.
The Canucks were unhappy with two non-calls in particular: Bickell's head shot on Kevin Bieksa behind the net and what they believed was a delay-of-game penalty on the Hawks in the third period.
Gillis also complained about John Scott getting away with murder after whistles.
"When a guy is 6-foot-8, who is a goon, who has basically one thing on his resume, which is to punch people in the face and can punch people in the face, I expect that to be called," Gillis said.
Several Hawks admitted they were surprised when Luongo didn't start Sunday but that it didn't matter to them who got the nod in Game 7.
"We'll just see at the game," Bolland said.
"Who knows?" Patrick Kane said. "I guess we were all expecting Luongo (Sunday) night, so we'll see what happens. Both goaltenders are very capable of doing their job. They won the Jennings Trophy this season for a reason, so whoever is in net you pretty much have the same mind-set."
The Hawks still feel all the pressure is on the Canucks to close out the defending Stanley Cup champs after once owning a 3-0 series lead.
"They're the ones who were up 3-0; they're the first seed in the West. They were kind of predicted to win the Cup this year and go far," Kane said.
"I don't think I want to be in their shoes," Bolland said. "You're up 3-0 and a team comes back to a 3-3 tie. I don't think we want to lose now, coming this far."
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