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Bryan Bickell’s knee injury played part in top line’s breakup

BOSTON MA - JUNE 24:  Bryan Bickell #29 Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with Stanley Cup after they w3-2 against BostBruins

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with the Stanley Cup after they won 3-2 against the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Updated: June 25, 2013 10:26PM



Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville raised some eyebrows around the league when he broke up his top line of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to start the Stanley Cup Final. Turns out he had a good reason.

Bickell had been playing with what Quenneville called a Grade 2 knee sprain.

“We were trying to preserve [Bickell] and get some balance at the same time,” Quenneville told the Blackhawks’ website. “We didn’t want heavy minutes with him against [Zdeno] Chara basically on one leg.”

There were plenty of other revelations in the annual end-of-season unveiling of who was playing through what injuries. Marian Hossa, a late scratch in Game 3, had a disc issue in his back that caused his right foot to go numb. Michal Handzus had a broken wrist and a torn medial collateral ligament. Jonathan Toews declined to talk about the injury that held him out of the third period of Game 5, but Quenneville said he had his bell rung on the hit by Johnny Boychuk. Andrew Shaw’s face was bleeding for most of the final two periods after he took a Shawn Thornton shot to the face.

The Bruins played through plenty of pain, too. Patrice Bergeron said he played Game 6 with a broken rib and torn cartilage suffered in Game 5, then separated his shoulder in Game 6. Nathan Horton played the series with a dislocated shoulder. Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Seguin also dealt with injuries.

Tuning in

NBC’s coverage of
Game 6 drew a 5.6 overnight rating, up 40 percent from Game 6 last year between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils. Boston had a 33.0 household rating, topping Chicago (30.2) for the highest-rated market.



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