Tears were rolling down Bryan Bickell's face after Thursday night's game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bickell, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, had just played his first game in front of Carolina Hurricanes fans since getting the bad news about five months ago.
"We’re just going to take it game by game," Bickell said, according to the News Observer. "It’s tough. I haven’t told my teammates yet. I’ve got to talk to my teammates in the next couple of days and let them know first, you know, what’s happening."
Wild fans will remember Bickell's name because he was a thorn in their side while playing for the Blackhawks, especially in the playoffs where he scored seven goals and five assists in 15 postseason games against the Wild.
Bickell's first game since the M.S. diagnosis was Tuesday in St. Paul when the Wild beat the Hurricanes. Afterward, Bickell said he planned to get advice from former Wild goalie, Josh Harding, who is one of only three players with M.S. to have played in the NHL, the New York Times reports.
“To get words of wisdom from a guy that’s been through it definitely helped,” Bickell said of Harding.
“A lot of people reached out through these months to let me know this day was going to come. With the circumstances and the rough road me and family went through to get this opportunity with some games left, I’m definitely blessed.”