When Bryan Bickell was called up on Nov. 15 against the San Jose Sharks, it came off as not a big deal and it was thought that he would likely be shuttled right back to Rockford after the game.
Well, that would be partially right.
Bickell would take Kris Versteeg's lineup spot, as he was missing time with an upper body injury, and give the Blackhawks more size against a very physical Sharks team.
Bickell would end up heading back to Rockford, but would find his way onto a plane bound for Calgary and in the lineup once again over forward Andrew Ebbett.
Now, we find out today that forward Andrew Ebbett has been placed on waivers and is likely done as a Chicago Blackhawk. This move speaks volumes about how impressed they have been with Bickell.
In Bickell's two most recent games with the Blackhawks, he has found himself on the top line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, running protection and not looking out of place.
In those games, Bickell had four shots and was a plus two also recording about 12 minutes of total ice time and 17 shifts per game.
It is good to see Bickell finally getting a chance to prove his talents at the NHL level and prove why he was a second round pick all the way back in 2004.
Bickell has a good combination of skill, size, speed, and hands for a guy that stands 6'4".
Many had believed that Bickell was likely stuck in the AHL with the plethora of talent ahead of him like Troy Brouwer, Dustin Byfuglien, and Andrew Ladd, but with the likely departure of several key forwards, guys like Bickell will be counted on next season.
The play of Bickell, I believe, has comforted many Blackhawks fans because they now see that the transition might not be so bad, as the 'Hawks still have tons of talent in the pipeline waiting for their chance to contribute at the NHL level.
Although Bryan Bickell will likely see his ice time diminish, if not disappear, when Marian Hossa returns during the circus trip, it has been good to see him prove his worth at the NHL level and in a major role with the 'Hawks.
In 2010 there should be wholesale changes on the front line, as well as on the back end, but it is comforting to see that the Blackhawks do have players waiting in the wings who can come in and likely fill the void of those player losses.