Dec 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wingBryan Bickell
(29) checks Nashville Predators defensemanSeth Jones
(3) during the third period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks biggest signing in the summer after the 2013 Stanley Cup was believed to be Bryan Bickell and keeping their only true power forward that was on the roster and basically in the system. The worst contract given that summer was the 2 year deal to Michal Rozsival but that’s a discussion for another day.
Bryan Bickell with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were supposed to be the #1 line for the Blackhawks for seasons but Bickell was injured in the 2013 Western Conference Finals versus the LA Kings and when the 2013-2014 season began he obviously wasn’t 100% and his played slipped back into 3rd line mode and that’s were he headed until the playoffs began.
You do have to like the fact the Bickell is a playoff performer and shows up on the biggest stage. He becomes a different player and it isn’t just the scoring of goals, he throws his body around and becomes a physical forward that’s more than worth his 4 million dollar a season price tag. The problem most Blackhawks fans have with Bickell is his disappearing act he does during the regular season. The points per game difference between the regular season and postseason is quite shocking when looking at Bickell’s career.
Regular season- 123 points in 340 games (.36 points per game)
Post season- 34 points in 57 games (.59 points per game)
This season his stats are trending more towards the regular season trend but he’s been on fire since Kris Versteeg went down with an injury and Joel Quenneville put him with Patrick Kane and Brad Richards. There’s more jump in Bickell’s skates and he’s back to the place where he earned his contract in the 2013 playoffs and that’s right in front of the net and putting his big frame in front of the opponnent’s goalie and creating havoc. After going almost the entire month of December with only 1 goal and 1 assist, Playoff Bickell showed up and since the last game of December Bickell has scored 5 goals and added 2 assists.
Joel Quenneville must have scene the same change in Bickell’s game because he now has replaced Andrew Shaw on the powerplay unit with Bickell. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that professional athletes need confidence to play well, but it’s one of the things that makes me like Bickell even more that it’s not all natural skills but he’s like a lot of us when we played, and confidence was a major factor.
Bickell’s game is shaping up and a huge 2nd half of the season could be in his grasp if he keeps playing with confidence, hitting and creating chances with Richards and #88 and parking himself in front of the net.
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What do you think? Will Bickell have a huge 2nd half of the season?
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