Chicago Blackhawks' Versteeg, Bickell want to stay

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comChicago Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg greets fans during the 8th annual Blackhawks Convention at the Hilton Chicago. Versteeg says he wants to remain a Hawk, but undertstands it might not be possible, given the team's need to get under the salaray cap.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comChicago Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg greets fans during the 8th annual Blackhawks Convention at the Hilton Chicago. Versteeg says he wants to remain a Hawk, but undertstands it might not be possible, given the team's need to get under the salaray cap.

 
 
Updated 7/17/2015 9:08 PM

Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell admit it: They don't want to go anywhere.

"I'd love to come back. I love it here," Versteeg said.

 

"Why leave something that's really, really good?" Bickell said.

Both veterans, in town for the Blackhawks Convention this weekend, know the NHL world they live and work in, though, and understand they could be playing elsewhere next season.

With the Hawks still trying to get under the salary cap, Bickell ($4 million cap hit) and Versteeg ($2.2 million cap hit) have been the subject of trade rumors since before the free-agent period began.

"It seems like every year there's rumors," Bickell said. "You prepare for the next season and hopefully I'm wearing that Indian Head (sweater) again."

Versteeg's been through this whole song and dance before. He was part of the 2010 purge when the Hawks traded him to Toronto where he played for 53 games before the Maple Leafs shipped him to Philadelphia. The Hawks got him back in a trade with the Panthers early in the 2013-14 season.

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"I think I've learned a lot from that whole process," Versteeg said. "Now it's moreso just enjoying the Cup and enjoying the process.

"If I get traded, I'll talk to Stan (Bowman) at that point and figure out some things. As of right now it's just business as usual. I go to the gym, work out, go see my little man (his son Jaxson) and hang out. There's not too much focus that goes into where I might be or where I might not be."

Stay cool:

When asked what advice he could give fans attending this weekend's convention, Patrick Kane said to just be patient.

"There's a lot of different priorities and different requests that come your way," Kane said. "I always tell the people that ask me what the convention is like, I say it's kind of like a 9 to 5, 9 to 9 workday.

"You're here all day and you really have to put the time in to interact with the fans and make sure we're giving everyone the time of day because we know it's a big weekend for them. That's why we're here is to try and give back as much as we possibly can."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Repeat?

A question players and coaches will hear over and over and over again next season will be, "Can you repeat as Stanley Cup champs?"

Joel Quenneville had a simple answer to that when asked Friday.

"Next year we're only thinking about making the playoffs," Quenneville said. "We found (out) this year how taxing it can be and how hard it is to get in.

"Teams are going to be gunning for us. It's going to be a tough road right out of the gate."

He said it:

"I don't think it matters whether it's Sharpie (Patrick Sharp) or anyone else. It's still shocking when you see your teammates leave, especially when you go though a long season the way we did and having the success in the postseason that we had.

"You kind of feel that bond, especially with those guys when you win a championship. And for that to all kind of come crashing down moments after, it's not fun."

-- Jonathan Toews

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