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Olczyk returns to broadcast booth for Blackhawks-Blues

NBC analyst who has colon cancer to call his first game of season

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Eddie Olczyk was sitting in a room talking with St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo on Wednesday, getting the nuances that normally aren't discussed with the media following a morning skate.

It's what the 51-year-old color analyst has missed most while being gone from the booth working with partner and NBC lead play-by-play voice Mike "Doc" Emrick.

But Olczyk will be part of the broadcast when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Blues at Scottrade Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV). After announcing that he was diagnosed with colon cancer on Aug. 8, he is six weeks into a 24-week chemotherapy regimen, and after recently taking the third of nine treatments, he called NBC to let them know he felt good enough to work.

"I feel it's going to be great for the soul," Olczyk said. "It's going to be probably one of the medicines I'm going to enjoy taking. Over the course of the last several months, I've been taking a lot."

Video: NHL Now catches up with Eddie Olczyk

Olczyk will be part of the WGN broadcast with partner Pat Foley for the Blackhawks game against the Edmonton Oilers at United Center on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHL.TV) and will work other games as his health allows.

"I'm sure it's going to be emotional tonight and tomorrow, but I just think that it's needed, and without the support of NBC and the Blackhawks, obviously, to have an open canvas that the chair was there when I feel good and was lucky enough with this treatment three that I feel good and it's great to be back in a place that I've missed ... a lot," Olczyk said. "It's a much-needed dose of medicine.

"If I do 15 games until I'm cleared, then great. If I do 20, great, I don't know. It's an open canvas. When I'm feeling good, hopefully I'm strong enough to work."

Several Blues executives and coaches were on hand Wednesday to wish Olczyk the best and offer support, including general manager Doug Armstrong, assistant GM Martin Brodeur and former forward and part-time scout Keith Tkachuk, Olczyk's teammate with the Winnipeg Jets.

"It feels good, it feels normal," Olczyk said. "There's not a lot of normal with what I'm going through. But I saw [Tkachuk] today, I know [Yeo] from my days in Pittsburgh. It's emotional, but I think it's well-needed."

Video: Olczyk returns to the booth during battle with cancer

Olczyk said he wants to help as many people as he can.

"I know there are a lot more people out there that are way worse off than Eddie Olczyk," he said. "Sadly, millions and millions and millions of people are fighting this horrible disease, and my goal is for the rest of my life, if I can help one person maybe recognize a symptom, make them feel good about themselves through a horrible time. I think getting some sense of normalcy, some sense of creature of habit mentality is great for the soul.

"I've had enough quiet time to last me a lifetime, and I think it's important that support for me is that I do what I love to do. I look at it if I can have seven days of hell and then seven days of freedom, then those six months will turn into 50 years. That's kind of the tradeoff, so I'm hoping I can inspire one person."

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