Friday night, all three made it back.
The Panthers got a much-needed boost of depth to their forward lines as Scottie Upshall, Jack Skille and Sean Bergenheim all got back on the ice for Friday's late game against the host Blackhawks at United Center.
To make room for that trio, Michal Repik was sent back to the minors on Friday. Mike Santorelli and Matt Bradley, who got his face busted up courtesy of a Colorado stick on Wednesday, were the healthy scratches.
For the injured three, getting back in couldn't come soon enough.
“I'm really excited to get back out there and it's going to be a great opportunity to get the speed back,'' said Upshall, who suffered a sports hernia/hip injury way back on Nov. 10. “This is a big game for all of us.''
Coach Kevin Dineen had a heart-to-heart with him on the ice following the morning skate on Friday. Bergenheim must have convinced his coach he was ready to go.
“I had something earlier on and hopefully it's all in the past now,'' Bergenheim said. “It's been a long time to wait. Those rehab exercises are getting annoying. Watching the team play is the hardest. It's tough watching your friends battle each night. I think I bring something to the team. The past few weeks haven't gone as we had hoped, so now we can get back to that groove we had.''
Skille injured his shoulder Dec. 16 and there was some thought he may need to have surgery on it. But Skille credited the Panthers medical staff for strengthening it enough that he didn't need to go under the knife.
Instead of missing a sizable chunk of the season, Skille was back in just over a month.
“When we come back, hopefully we add something and help out,'' he said. “I reacted really well but it was really scary at first. We have a great training staff here and they are committed to helping injured players come back in due time. They did a great job with me.''
DELAY OF GAME
The Blackhawks pushed back the start of Friday's game 30 minutes because of the huge snow storm that hit the Chicago area and delayed the Panthers arrival.
The Panthers were scheduled to fly to Winnipeg following Friday's game, although they are now expected to stay overnight in Chicago and fly north early Saturday morning because of the heavy snow.
() Dineen said he isn't “a message guy,'' by benching Santorelli, but with so many healthy players back, someone had to sit. Santorelli, who scored 20 goals in 82 games for the Panthers last season, missed the start of this campaign with a shoulder injury and has yet to catch fire.
Santorelli has five goals in 37 games – and just one over his past 17 games.
() Former Panthers winger Michael Frolik – who came to Chicago for Skille – has struggled lately and came into Friday's game with no goals in his past 16 games. Frolik has been relegated to Chicago's fourth line.
“It’s not easy when they’re not going in,” Frolik said. “I try to work hard in practice and do some extra stuff. Hopefully, it’s going to turn.''
() There will be a watch party for Saturday's 8:30 game at Winnipeg as it not being televised locally. The party, which will include the dedication of a 'Panthers Patio,' will be at the Duffy's at 4800 West Hillsboro Boulevard in Coconut Creek.