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Canucks v Blackhawks - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Report: Bickell undergoes wrist surgery

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Multiple reports say that forward Bryan Bickell underwent wrist surgery to repair tendons in his wrist and will not be available to play in Tuesday night's Game 7 of the Chicago Blackhawks' Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Bickell has 2 goals and 4 points in the series. The news was initially reported by XM Home Ice, with reports confirmed by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Herald and other media outlets.

The injury occurred when Bickell was accidentally cut by a skate blade in Game 2 at Rogers Arena. The amount of time Bickell will miss has yet to be determined, according to a Sun-Times report.

Several Hawks preparing for first Game 7

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – Some of them have won the Stanley Cup, others have also won an Olympic gold medal and this season's version of the Chicago Blackhawks went through countless "big" games in an oft-turbulent regular season.

Now, here they are facing a Game 7 on the road Tuesday night at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series they once trailed 3-0.

Only five Blackhawks have experienced a Game 7 in the NHL – and Jassen Cullimore is now skating with the team's black aces – but the way the Hawks see it, it's not a big deal.

"It's good to have some (Game 7) experience there that can help you, but I think a lot of guys here have played in big games, whether it's been for Olympic gold medals or in the Stanley Cup Playoffs or even the Cup Final," star forward Patrick Kane said on Monday afternoon. "I think we've kind of gotten a sense for what to expect. It's exciting. I was saying that last night … that I haven't been in a Game 7 in the NHL yet."

Vigneault says Luongo will start Game 7

Dhiren Mahiban - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Monday afternoon that Roberto Luongo would be Vancouver's starting goalie in Game 7 against Chicago on Tuesday night. Vigneault made sure to say he was serious this time because he also repeatedly said Luongo was his goalie prior to Game 6, but he instead went with a self-described gut decision to start Cory Schneider instead.

Vigneault said that Luongo was told by goalie coach Roland Melanson prior to Game 6 that he would be starting Vancouver's next game regardless if it was Game 7 against the Hawks or Game 1 of the second round. Vigneault confirmed that Schneider would be available as the backup.

Schneider had to come out due to cramping 2:31 into the third period of Game 6. He allowed a game-tying penalty shot goal to Michael Frolik and fell backward in his crease and eventually needed help off the ice. Luongo came on in relief and made two saves through regulation and 10 in overtime, but Ben Smith beat him on a rebound goal with 4:30 left in the extra session to give the Hawks a 4-3 win.

Luongo gave up 10 goals on 40 shots over 65-plus minutes in Games 4 and 5. He was pulled in favor of Schneider in both games.

Bolland has resumed menacing of Canucks

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brace yourself, Vancouver.

Public Enemy No. 1 is coming back for Game 7 of a Western Conference quarterfinal-round series on Tuesday night against your Canucks, and he's already licking his chops. We're talking, of course, about Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland, who already has a stable of interesting nicknames at his disposal -- such "The Rat," and "The Greyhound."

If Bolland can help the Hawks do the unthinkable and win this series after being down 3-0 before he returned from a concussion, he can officially add "Sworn Enemy of the Sedin Twins," to the list.

In fact, Bolland has already done a lot in this series alone to spoil the fun for Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, among others. He'll probably be lucky if customs officers in Vancouver don't mysteriously detain him for a couple of days for suspected menacing of the Canucks.

Sharks believe 'Nemo' will find himself in Game 6

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The San Jose Sharks were giving goalie Antti Niemi plenty of verbal support Monday morning at the Staples Center. Now they need to carry that support onto the ice in Game 6 of their Western Conference quarterfinal-round series with the Los Angeles Kings.

The 27-year-old Finn will start again Monday night despite getting pulled Saturday for the second time in the series after allowing three goals on four shots in a 3-1 Sharks' defeat in San Jose that prevented them from advancing to the next round.

Toews: 'Anything can happen now'

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- He's yet to score in this series, but if it's bothering him, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has a funny way of showing it because he is definitely not at a loss for words.

Toews, known in these parts as "Captain Serious," is always one of the media's go-to players in Chicago's dressing room following a game because it's his responsibility as the team captain to speak for his club. Toews has not disappointed with his words yet, and he was particularly on his game after Sunday's 4-3 overtime victory.

Here is a small sampling of what he had to say.

Vigneault shocks hockey world by starting Schneider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO Alain Vigneault thought some things needed to change for his Vancouver Canucks after they'd been blown out by the Chicago Blackhawks in two straight playoff games.

So, he practically changed everything before Sunday night's Game 6 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series at the United Center, which the Hawks wound up winning 4-3 in overtime.

Vigneault had his team warm up with tennis balls instead of pucks at Saturday's off-day practice. He wore blue jeans to the press conference that day – and shorts to a media session on Sunday morning. The buttoned-down Canucks even went helmetless in the pre-game warm-ups at the United Center.

It was the first Canuck to take the ice for warm-ups, however, that caused the biggest stir – and was the biggest change Vigneault debated in his head on the flight from Vancouver following a 5-0 loss in Game 5 at Rogers Arena.

Sedin remains confident despite third straight loss

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks have built themselves a great rivalry by playing each other in three straight Stanley Cup Playoffs and only added to its history on Sunday night at the United Center.

Ben Smith's goal off a rebound finally ended Game 6 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series with 4:30 left in overtime, but this one will be remembered for quite some time -- mostly for Canucks star goalie Roberto Luongo not starting, but finishing the game as an injury replacement for Cory Schneider.

The loss was also the third straight for Vancouver, which stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the series. The Canucks must now win Game 7 on Tuesday at Rogers Arena to keep from becoming this year's Boston Bruins -- who shockingly blew a 3-0 lead a year ago and helped pave the way to the Stanley Cup Final for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Smith's tally keeps Hawks alive

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Ben Smith did what Ben Smith has always done. He planted his strong body in front of the net, hoped for a rebound and fought like heck to get his stick on it and shove it back toward the net once it came to him.

He did this as a kid and it earned him a scholarship to Boston College. He did it as a collegian and it helped him win a national championship with the Eagles. Now he's done it with the Blackhawks and it's earned him hero's status in arguably the wildest playoff series of the young NHL postseason.

Smith, the Blackhawks rookie who played all of six regular-season games, scored the biggest goal of Chicago's season Sunday night to extend the quarterfinal-round series against Vancouver to an improbable seventh game. Smith used his backhand to swipe the rebound of Niklas Hjalmarsson's shot past Roberto Luongo 15:30 into overtime to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win and a ticket to Vancouver.

Schneider replaces Luongo for Game 6

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Despite being adamant since the end of Game 5 that Roberto Luongo was his starting goalie, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had a change of heart somewhere between late Thursday night and Sunday because Cory Schneider will get the start for Vancouver in Game 6 against Chicago at United Center.

Luongo was replaced by Schneider in each of the last two games and has given up 10 goals on 40 shots in his last 65-plus minutes. The Blackhawks forced the need for a Game 6 by winning the last two games by a combined 12-2.
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