Quenneville opts for flexibility

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks decided to dress eight defensemen for their game against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

After sending down two forwards to the minors on Tuesday, it was about their only option. The Hawks only have 20 players on their roster. John Scott and Jordan Hendry will start at forward with Fernando Pisani as their center, but it sounds as if coach Joel Quenneville may not give the natural defensemen a regular shift every time out.

“We can fit forwards and play them a little bit more in those roles, too,” Quenneville said. “It gives you a lot of options and flexibility as well. It gives you an extra D-man or two if you need them at the other end, too. I’ve been in lineups where you have more than eight on defense more than once. It can work.”

Scott has played some games at forward already while Hendry had a handful at that position last season.

“It’s a little different look for me, but I’m excited about it,” Hendry said. “It should be fun. I played forward growing up, too, so it’s not completely different to me.”

Bickell returns: After being a healthy scratch the past two games, Bryan Bickell is back in the lineup. Quenneville wants the big body to be hard to play against. Bickell says he got the message. Which was? “To be more focused,” Bickell said Wednesday. “I started off well, but my focus wasn’t there. That’s why he took me out of the lineup, to put a little fire underneath me. I need to be physical. I’m a big guy.”

No excuses: To the Hawks credit they haven’t complained about the run of injuries that have occurred in the first month of the season. Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa are on the shelf, but other teams have had it worse. New Jersey announced on Tuesday they would miss their captain, Zach Parise, for three months. The Hawks played Los Angeles without Drew Doughty and Minnesota was missing two of their top six forwards when Chicago was there on Saturday.

“Timing is important, too,” the recently healed Brian Campbell said. “If you have a lot of injuries it’s tough to win a Stanley Cup, but if you get them early you can get them out of the way.”

So does Campbell expect a demoralized Devils team?

“Actually, they’re dangerous, right now,” Campbell said. “But if we take care of what we do and play our style, we’ll win. We want to control the game.”