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Blackhawks forwards dealt with several injuries

by Dan Rosen

BOSTON -- No team wins the Stanley Cup without injuries, but they rarely, if ever, disclose them while the ride is ongoing.

The Chicago Blackhawks' doctors and trainers were certainly busy throughout the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and coach Joel Quenneville revealed some of what they had to deal with shortly after Dave Bolland's goal in the final minute completed Chicago's historic come-from-behind 3-2 Cup-clinching win against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 Monday at TD Garden.

Quenneville said Marian Hossa was dealing with a bad back; Michal Handzus had injuries to his hand and knee; and Bryan Bickell, who scored the tying goal Monday, suffered a Grade 2 knee sprain at the end of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings. All Quenneville would say about Jonathan Toews, who played in Game 6 after sitting out the third period of Game 5, is that "he got his bell rung, he was fine."

Toews had a goal and an assist on Bryan Bickell's tying goal with 1:16 left in the third period.

"He had a monster game," Quenneville said of Toews. "He looked ready to go at the end of the last game, and I thought he looked very good [Sunday] and was ready to go. The bigger the game, the bigger the setting, you know what you're going to get from Jonathan Toews. He just knows how to play hockey."

Of all the injuries, Quenneville said Handzus, the oldest player in the lineup at 36, was in the worst shape, yet he logged more than 15 minutes in Game 6. He also played more than 16 minutes in Game 4 and more than 17 minutes in Game 5.

"Oh yeah, he had more issues than anybody," Quenneville said. "He had a bad hand, he had a bad knee, he had old age -- a lot of things going on. But what a game he played and what a playoffs he had. And what an end of the season after we upgraded him [to second-line center]."

Handzus didn't miss a game en route to winning the Stanley Cup for the first time. He finished the Stanley Cup Playoffs with three goals and eight assists.

"Everybody is banged up in the playoffs," Handzus said. "I don't think I'm the only guy and we don't have to talk about it. I could play, so I was happy."

Quenneville said Bickell's knee injury was the main reason the coach broke up the top line of Bickell, Toews and Patrick Kane, a line that was so good late in the series against the Kings.

"Grade 2 knee sprain, that's a three- or four-week injury," Quenneville said. "[Bickell] probably shouldn't have played a game in this series, but after Game 3 it looked like he was back to normal, which was big for us."

Bickell, Toews and Kane were put back together on a line for Game 4 of the Final. They combined for six goals and seven assists during the last three games of the series.

"Now why would I do that [break up the line]?" Quenneville asked rhetorically. "Well, we were trying to preserve [Bickell] and get some balance at the same time. We didn't want heavy minutes with him against [Zdeno] Chara basically on one leg."

Hossa did not play in Game 3 because of his back injury. He was limited in Games 4, 5 and 6, but played at least 16-plus minutes in each of them and had an assist in Game 4.

"The resiliency all year long of finding ways, and the depth I think made it so special for us," Quenneville said.


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