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Bryan Bickell of Hurricanes closer to NHL return

Forward recovering from multiple sclerosis placed on waivers, could play in AHL this weekend @NHL

The Carolina Hurricanes put forward Bryan Bickell on waivers Thursday, the latest step of his comeback from multiple sclerosis. Should Bickell clear waivers Friday, he can be assigned to Charlotte of the American Hockey League, which opens a six-game homestand with games Friday and Saturday.

Bickell, 30, hasn't played since Oct. 30 against the Philadelphia Flyers and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on Nov. 11. He has been practicing with the Hurricanes for more than a month.

"He's done everything he possibly can to get himself ready and get back at it, so we'll see where it leads," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes website. "It's an unreal source of inspiration, and his attitude has been fantastic through this whole thing. I give him nothing but credit there."

A three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, Bickell has 136 points (66 goals, 70 assists) in 391 NHL games.

"My thing was to stay positive in this situation and have fun," Bickell told the website on Feb. 9. "I've always been that kind of guy in my career to have fun every day, put some smiles on people's faces, but also when you get here, to work hard. Our job is to be on the ice and do what we need to do. I'm working on it and having fun at the same time."

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