Both Bickell, Blackhawks hope a deal can be made


Much is unclear about pending free agent Bryan Bickell’s future, but there’s no doubt he’ll make more than the $600K salary he pulled in this season.

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman once again shared his desire to bring back the burly forward, expressing a positive outlook regarding the possibility during a radio spot on ESPN Chicago Wednesday.

“We certainly want to bring him back,” Bowman said. “That’s our objective right now. We’re working on that and some other things, and there’s a short amount of time to do it. We’re optimistic and hopeful.”

It appears that a return is the 27-year-old’s preference, at least.

“I got drafted in ’04 with this team,” Bickell said. “I think this is a second home to me. To be brought up through the minor leagues and being here the last couple years has been an honor. I feel this is a home to me. I have a lot of friends and family with me in the city. I enjoy it a lot here.”

With approximately $2 million in salary cap space and some other decisions to make – including that of occasionally benched defenseman Nick Leddy – it might take some clever maneuvering to happen.

Perhaps Bickell might need to leave a little money on the table, too, as he made some serious waves – and a lot of funny faces – in the playoffs.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: