- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Bickell is expected to play against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury.
"[Bickell's] ready to go," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Wednesday. "He was flying there at practice. He's been skating really well. He's been skating going into that [recent road] trip. We thought maybe he could have played on that trip. But certainly you can use his size and his speed and his pace and some physicality to his game, which is noticeable. And I thought he was definitely playing his best hockey going into that injury."
Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp and Michal Handzus and defensemen Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival did not practice on Wednesday. Rozsival said he would not play on Thursday, but he could return against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Quenneville said the other three players had maintenance days and are fine.
Bickell's play has fluctuated since returning from a knee injury in December, but Quenneville is happier with him as of late. Quenneville was giving Bickell an average of about 12 minutes of ice time in his past five games. He played 14:18 against the St. Louis Blues in the game he suffered his injury on March 19.
Bickell is excited to play again and get into form before the playoffs begin.
"It's hard for me getting ready before this stretch, these six games, going into playoffs and get back and playing the hockey I know," Bickell said. "It was frustrating sitting out. I know that little injury I had to get the rest. I think those last three days helped it for tomorrow."
Bickell has 10 goals, two assists and a minus-seven rating in 53 games this season. He was one of the Blackhawks' top players in the playoffs last season with nine goals and eight assists during the team's Stanley Cup run.
CHICAGO -- Not all news was bad Wednesday for the Chicago Blackhawks, who will add forward Bryan Bickell back to the lineup.Bickell is expected to play against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury.