Blackhawks News

Bryan Bickell: The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Chicago Blackhawks

By Brian Kinkade

Sep 23, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) at the face-off circle against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The strange case of regular season Bryan Bickell and post-season Bryan Bickell is a very curious one.

The regular season had people crying foul, on Bickell’s newly inked 4-year 16 million dollar deal, signed after an excellent post-season, that ended with the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup.  Bickell was a major force, throughout the entire playoffs, which resulted in his new contract.

The following regular season, though, was quite underwhelming.

Meet Dr. Jekyll(regular season Bickell).

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As you can see, Dr, Jekyll is a mild-mannered, under-performing 4 million dollar cap hit.  You can often find him in Head Coach Joel Quenneville’s dog house, as a well paid spectator, at Blackhawks games.  With only 15 points, in 59 games played, this is the type of player you’d expect to see hitting the waiver-wire, or being hidden, in the AHL.  He possesses a large, thick frame, which would be a wonderful asset, to the Hawks, if was able to use it as a physical force, on the ice.  However, those instances of physical play aren’t as frequent as one would expect.  It is worth noting, his 58% Corsi For Percentage, is quite nice.  Although, you’d think that while possessing the puck, nearly 60% of the time, he would at least be able to have a handful of assists.

Why is such a player on a Stanley Cup contender’s roster?  You’d think that Hawks General Manager, Stan Bowman, would swallow his pride, and cut his losses by ridding the team, of Bickell’s presence, in favor of a more able player.

Bowman didn’t do that.  Why not?

Meet Mr. Hyde(post-season Bryan Bickell)

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As you can see, Dr. Jekyll becomes an absolute monster, once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.  A ferocious 4 million dollar bargain, of a power forward.  You’ll often see him on the puck, or crushing the opponent who holds the puck.  A point per game player, with a vicious wrist-shot, and only 1 less assist, in 8 playoff games, than he had in 59 regular season games.  Yes, his Corsi For Percentage is ever so slightly lower, in the playoffs, than it was in the regular season.  However, with a TotTm% QoC(Time on Ice against higher quality opponents) of 31.4%, Bickell has faced the 3rd toughest competition, of any player, in the playoffs.  Keeping that in mind, Bickell’s 57.4% Corsi For is rather sparkling.

What else can you say?  The man absolutely comes to life, in the playoffs, and is a huge asset, in all facets of the game, for the Blackhawks.  He was a key reason why the Hawks went on to win the Stanley Cup, last season.  Will he be again?

So far, so good.