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Blackhawks expect Shaw back on ice this weekend

by Brian Hedger / Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Andrew Shaw again rested with a lower-body injury and didn't practice with the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at United Center.

The good news for the Blackhawks is that Shaw, a scrappy, versatile second-year forward, is close to skating again and might be able to return in the pending Western Conference Final against either the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings.

"[He] certainly adds an ingredient you appreciate as a coach and a teammate," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "[He] has that relentless competitiveness, some skill offensively and he's hard to play against. Nice set of hands, can take faceoffs, play center, wing. You look forward to getting him back. We expect to have him back on the ice this weekend and we'll get a better determination of when he'll play."

Shaw, who scored 20 goals in the regular season, has two goals and two assists in seven games during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His presence in front of the crease and around the net has become a key part of the Blackhawks' attack, especially in the tight checking of the postseason.

He was injured on a hit in the first period of Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild in a Western Conference Second Round series and didn't play in the remaining five games of the best-of-7 series.

Shaw is currently the only Blackhawks player unable to play, but there could be a few lingering issues that others are playing through.

Other notable developments during practice was the breakup of Chicago's top line from the final two games against the Wild and the reunification of a fourth-line that played together almost the entire season.

Power forward Bryan Bickell was back at left wing on the top line with captain Jonathan Toews at center and Marian Hossa at right wing during line rushes. That moved forward Patrick Sharp to left wing for the second group with Michal Handzus at center and Patrick Kane on the right wing.

Sharp, Toews and Hossa -- who played much of the regular season as the top unit -- were put back together for the final two games against the Wild. On the fourth line, forward Brandon Bollig was back at left wing with Marcus Kruger at center and Ben Smith on the right side.

Bollig has served his two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard during Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center and is ready to get back on the ice. He said what happened was a learning experience.

"It's definitely not ideal that the guy got hurt, and I wasn't looking to hurt anyone," Bollig said. "I don't think anyone's out there to hurt anyone. Hopefully it doesn't happen again."

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