Author: Mike Halford

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Practice Sessions

Bickell had vertigo, but now ‘100 percent ready’ to return


CHICAGO — Trevor van Riemsdyk might not be the only Blackhawk making his Stanley Cup Final debut in Game 3.

‘Hawks forward Bryan Bickell, who missed the first two games of the series, told reporters on Monday he’s recovered from vertigo and is ready to play for the first time since Game 7 of Chicago’s Western Conference Final win over Anaheim.

“I feel better. Hopefully, I’ll get the nod tonight. Feeling better than I did in Tampa,” Bickell said following today’s morning skate. “Been through a lot of injuries in my career, but never been through anything like that. I feel better today.

“Tough playing when you’re dizzy. I feel 100 percent ready to come back into the lineup.”

Vertigo was just the latest setback in what’s been a disappointing postseason for Bickell. He’s gone without a goal after scoring 16 in the two previous playoffs combined and, of all the ‘Hawks forwards to play in at least 17 games this spring, Bickell’s the only one yet to have found the back of the net.

Should Bickell be re-inserted tonight, it could be at the expense of Kris Versteeg, who drew in for Games 1 and 2. Versteeg wasn’t skating in the top-four line rushes this morning and, afterward, seemed somewhat resigned to coming out when speaking with reporters.

“Obviously, you always want to play, especially in moments like this,” he explained. “In that sense, it’d be disappointing.

“But it is what it is, and you’ve just got to stay ready and be excited to play whenever you get a chance.”

Related: Goalless Bickell hopes he’s ‘been saving them’ for Stanley Cup Final

‘I feel like Marshawn Lynch right now’: Bishop ducks all queries about Game 3 availability


CHICAGO — Well, at least he took to the podium.

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who exited Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final under mysterious circumstances, met with the media following Monday’s morning skate… and said nothing.

Literally, nothing.

Among his answers in relation to Game 3:

“We’re not gonna comment on that.”

“We’ll see.”

“No comment.”

Bishop did participate in the morning skate, but it’s unclear whether that was to test whatever is ailing him, or as a warmup for tonight’s pivotal game at the United Center. His remarks today were much in line with what Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper has said repeatedly over the last 48 hours:


But at least they’ve both been apologetic.

“I feel like Marshawn Lynch right now,” Bishop said, referencing the Seattle RB’s infamous deflection of media queries.

“Sorry guys.”

Related: Lightning aren’t sure who will start in Game 3

TVR Time: van Riemsdyk likely to replace Rundblad for Game 3

San Jose Sharks v Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Jon Cooper gave a promising young rookie his Stanley Cup Final debut in Game 2.

Now, Cooper’s counterpart looks like he’ll do the same in Game 3.

On Monday, Joel Quenneville hinted strongly that freshman blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk would make both his Stanley Cup playoff and Final debut tonight in place of David Rundblad, less than 48 hours after Cooper gave 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin his first game of the series on Saturday night.

“Could play,” Quenneville said of TVR, refusing to officially reveal his lineup plans. “He’s got a real good patience level with the puck. Got good reads. Good stick. Positionally aware.

“I thought he came out into the team out of the blue, outstanding at the beginning of the season for us. I think he adds another dimension to our back end.”

Van Riemsdyk, 23, surprised the club out of training camp by making the team as an undrafted free agent, then further impressed in his first 18 games — before suffering a knee injury that cost him most of the season. Van Riemsdyk re-joined the team in late May and has been practicing every since.

“I’m going to be ready to go, play my game, keep it simple,” van Riemsdyk said after the morning skate. “I’ve had a lot of positive support here in the locker room, reminding you it’s just a hockey game you’ve been playing since you’re little.

“Obviously it’s a bigger stage, everything going on around it, but once you step on that ice, it’s just another hockey game. Just play the way you know can.”

The van Riemsdyk-for-Rundblad swap makes sense on a number of fronts. One, it’s a right-handed shot for right-handed shot, which evens out the pairings. Two, getting TVR into the series at home for Game 3 allows Quenneville to better control the matchups, as he has the last change.

Three, it could finally give the ‘Hawks some real contribution outside of the top-four defense. While van Riemsdyk was hardly a workhorse during the regular season, he did play frequently and averaged over 13 minutes a night.

Rundblad, meanwhile, has averaged 7:29 per game this postseason.