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Does Bryan Bickell’s Regular Season Approach Bother Blackhawks Fans?

By Keith Schultz
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Feb 3, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks paid Bryan Bickell 4 million dollars a year after his 2013 Stanley Cup playoff performance which included the game tying goal during the best 17 seconds in Blackhawks history. Bickell has been fantastic during the playoffs since 2011 but the question isn’t Bickell’s playoff performance it’s his regular season play which always seems to find him in the pressbox sometime in March.

I couldn’t find the direct quote but I remember someone quoting Bickell last year during the very physical St. Louis Blues series why he doesn’t play like this (the playoffs) during the regular season and he said to paraphrase it was just too exhausting and impossible to play at that level for 82 games and if he did he wouldn’t have anything left in the tank come the playoffs.

This attitude is really concerning in a salary cap world that NHL teams live in now. Teams need production from Game #1 of the regular season until the Cup is raised in June but that never has been the program that Bickell has been on since becoming a Blackhawks regular in the 2010-2011 season. Bickell’s biggest regular season stats were in that first regular season when he scored 17 times with 20 assists.  Yes, that’s right a guy that makes 4 million dollars a season best regular season was 37 points.

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Now flip the script to the playoffs and he’s a goal scoring heavy hitting power forward. Bickell and Patrick Kane are the only 2 Blackhawks to score 2 or more goals in the past 4 playoff seasons, and he kicked off and finished off the 2013 playoff run with an overtime Game #1 goal against the Wild and then his previously mentioned Boston goal.

Bickell will be a playoff leader in hits and looks like a player possessed, but is it ok just to be a playoff performer.  Coach Quenneville obviously doesn’t think so because every time this year he benches Bickell to light a fire under him to finish the season strong and to have the right mind set heading into the playoffs. Quenneville always talks about consistency with Bickell which is what is so annoying that he can be a stud in the playoffs and a super dud during the regular season.

It’s easy to see when Bickell is playing well when he’s playing the body, finishing checks, and standing in front of the net.  When he’s trying to stick handle and make plays you know it’s going to be a long night.

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So what do you think? Is it ok to be one of the best power forwards in the NHL during the postseason because that’s when you need to be your best or should regular season play mirror the postseason.  Many players shrink during the postseason while Bickell thrives so here’s the poll question.

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