by Vince Maranto on 11/18/11 at 03:05 AM ET
The two moves that I have been anticipating have finally panned out. This is part one of what I had hoped the Hawks would do, more on the rest later.
The Blackhawks placed Rostislav Olesz on waivers Wednesday. I saw this coming for a couple of weeks now. Olesz was acquired from the Florida Panthers in exchange for defense man Brian Campbell. He had no points and was a -1 in six games with the Hawks this season. The former first-round draft pick was a scratch for 12 games this year, so far. Teams have 24 hours to claim Olesz and if he isn’t picked up by another team could be headed to the Rockford Ice Hog Olesz was part of the deal that dumped the big salary of great, but over paid, Brian Campbell . If Olesz heads to Rockford, the Hawks would still be on the hook for his salary of $3.4 million, but would gain $3,125,000 of cap room.
Ben Smith has been called up from Rockford. Smith, who was concussed during a hit in the Red Wings preseason game, has been rehabbing with the Ice Hogs all season. I got a chance to talk to Ben (great guy) during the Ice Hogs, after game skate around with the fans, 2 weeks ago. I got the feeling it was just a short matter of time before he returned. It will be interesting which line Coach Q puts him on. The first 2 lines are playing very well together, so we shall see.
As for part two of the moves, Brian Bickell needs to step it up, or I see (barring injury from another winger) him being the nightly scratch. Big Bick has the size (and I thought the tools, for a while) but has not produced. Currently, he is the weakest link in the line up.
The Hawks are in Calgary, Friday, against the Flames.
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