Bryan Bickell Days Until The Blackhawks Season Opener


May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) shoots the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Bickell Days Until The Blackhawks Season Opener

We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. The calendar has turned to September as we look at jersey numbers from past and present while counting down the days until October 9th and opening night against the Dallas Stars.

Folks, we are LESS THAN A MONTH away (finally!) from the Blackhawks season opener. Only 29 more days!

Let’s take a look back at some of players who have worn #29 for the Hawks:

  • Ted Bulley – drafted by the Hawks in 1975, he spent the majority of his NHL career in Chicago before heading to the Washington Capitals for the 1982-83 season.
  • Steve Ludzik – drafted by the Hawks in 1980, and played from 1983-89. He had a brief 11-game sting with the Buffalo Sabres the following year, but ultimately spent the rest of his hockey playing days in the minors.
  • Greg Millen – originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, he made the rounds of NHL teams (though not quite to a Jagr extent) before spending two seasons in Chicago later in his career, in the early 90s.
  • Jimmy Waite – drafted by the Hawks in 1987, in the days of Ed Belfour and Dominik Hašek. He primarily served in the backup role to Belfour, but sent to the San Jose Sharks in the late 90s. Ending his playing career in Europe, he eventually made his way back to Chicago: he recently replaced Steve Weeks as the Hawks’ goalie coach (a role previously filled by his brother, Stéphane).
  • Darin Kimble – ended his 9-year NHL career with two seasons in Chicago during the early-to-mid 90s.
  • Andrei Trefilov – goalie who played for a few different NHL teams, including the Hawks in the late 90s.
  • Steve Passmore – goalie who played four seasons for the Hawks in the early 2000s. After the 2005 lockout, he headed to Europe and rounded out his professional career there.
  • Valeri Zelepukin – spent most of his 12-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, but ended it in Chicago for the 2000-01 season.
  • Shawn Thornton – a guy known for his physical play (to put it mildly), he spent a few seasons in Chicago early in his career (2002-06), before heading to the Anaheim Ducks (where he won his first of two Stanley Cups) for one season, then on to the Boston Bruins where he has been since 2007.
  • Troy Brouwer – drafted by the Hawks in 2004 and spent his first five NHL seasons in Chicago, including the Cup drought-breaking 2010 season. In 2011, he was traded to the Capitals, where he currently plays, and where will face many of his former teammates for this season’s Winter Classic.
  • Jason Williams – signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Red Wings in 2000, Williams found his way to Chicago in the middle of the 2006-07 season after having been sidelined for a while due to injuries sustained from a dirty Raffi Torres hit (yes, I know, the word “dirty” is somewhat redundant). He fared well with the Hawks in the following season – 36 points in 43 games – but became a UFA and was signed by the Atlanta Thrashers.

Of course, fans know that the guy who has been wearing #29 since 2010 is none other than “Mr. Playoffs” or “Mr. May” – Bryan Bickell.

Let’s take a quick look at his stats from last season:

Regular Season

Games Played: 59

Goals: 11 (including 2 game-winning goals)

Assists: 4

+/-: -6


Games Played: 19

Goals: 7 (including 2 power play goals)

Assists: 3

+/-: 1

Bickell didn’t have the strongest regular season last year – in part due to a lower body injury that sidelined him for quite a bit – and he often found himself in Coach Quenneville’s doghouse. But true to form, he seemed to flip a switch and turned into the playoff machine we know and love, and helped the Hawks withstand some pesky opponents in the first two rounds. And he and his wife just recently welcomed a new addition to the family, so perhaps we will see the same “Blackhawks Baby Effect” as with Keith, Seabrook, Sharp, Hossa, and many others, all who seem to play even better despite what has to be an obscene lack of sleep for new parents.

Whatever the motivation, fans and coaching staff alike will expect to see more – and more consistently – out of Bickell during the regular season to justify the generous contract he and a few other Hawks landed after helping the team win its second Stanley Cup in four seasons.

What say you, Hawks fans – who was your favorite #29?

Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Faceoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on October 9th. We’re 29 days from the season opener.  Is it October yet???

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