Quenneville: Bryan Bickell Needs To Improve

After another pointless evening, Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was put on blast by coach Joel Quenneville at practice on Saturday.

Bickell was not skating with the Hawks top four lines during Saturday morning’s skate. Quenneville rolled out the following lines:

Versteeg-Toews-Hossa
Saad-Vermette-Teravainen
Sharp-Richards-Carcillo
Nordstrom-Kruger-Shaw

It’s been another up-and-down regular season for Bickell, who earned a significant raise with his performance during the 2013 postseason and hasn’t shown the effort he showed during those playoffs since singing the new deal.

Bickell has registered a point in only two of his last 19 games.

Sure, Bickell is easily leading the Hawks with 166 hits; Andrew Shaw is second on the roster with 105. But Joakim Nordstrom has piled up 62 in only 29 games, and the addition of Andrew Desjardins (who had 96 in 59 games in San Jose) gives Quenneville two more options for physical play in his bottom six – neither of whom is making $4M next year.

Unfortunately, the stretch of frustrating play has become Bickell’s MO. In 2011-12, Bickell produced only four total points between Nov. 1  and Feb. 1, including zero points in the entire month of November. Last season, after signing the big money extension, Bickell had more than three points in an entire month only once (October).

Indeed, Bickell’s 2013 postseason makes his regular season even more frustrating. He posted 17 points in 23 games on the road to the Stanley Cup championship, and followed that performance with only 15 points in 59 games during the following regular season.

With the Hawks staring at some tough financial decisions this summer, the regular seasons on Bickell’s resume will make it hard for an organization that lacks size to keep him around. Now that Quenneville has put him on notice, it’s up to Bickell to bring the same intensity that got him paid two years ago.

Bryan Bickell VAN

19 thoughts on “Quenneville: Bryan Bickell Needs To Improve

  1. Queue a post from Wall complaining about bickell and all the others on his agenda now…wait for it…

  2. With every dollar counting more next year then ever the Hawks need to ask if they can afford a guy who does very little during the regular season to collect a 4 million dollar paycheck.

  3. Bick will be gone next year so cease fire. The REAL ISSUE is BICK is a solid net front presence BUT only if he is on one of the top two line! Which is why Coach Q is confused! BICK should be on the top two lines, add a little muscle in the corners but mainly be a net front presence as the best players create offense around him. BICK should be on the power play too, when he is on a 3 or 4 line he’s role is to skate hard and fast into the corners and HIT PEOPLE, not a good value, so it ALL comes down to who’s on what line and what role, he can not float in front of the net on a average line, he needs to help control the puck and maintain possession. Coach Q has set him up to fail, pretty simple. but he’s gone net year as is Shaw.

  4. Mox17… I apologize for being 1 year ahead of the story that Tab just wrote and Q has acknowledged (of course Q can finally do something now – cuz Kane’s IR has opened up room for others ( who can do the same thing that “Handcuffs” can for pennies on the dollar!!!))

  5. I don’t know Bickell from Adam, so maybe this is just a pile of BS – but it seems to me that Bickell is lacking two things that would make him a player worthy of $4M. First, he’s too nice of a guy. He doesn’t have the neanderthal gene that would otherwise make him play with an edge. He is not capable of playing with bad intent more than occasionally and that’s why he his play is so inconsistent. It’s not natural for him. The other thing holding him back from being a better player is that he doesn’t have endurance. He can’t play at top speed for more 10-12 minutes a game and that’s why Q can only spot him on the top line – he can’t play 17-19 minutes that the top players play. I still think he will make a difference in the playoffs because the Hawks play the same team over and over and that breeds contempt and consequently Bickell plays angry and therefore better. But regular season – it’s not the same.

  6. Bickell is indeed a nice guy. But he cashed in and has proceeded to play protectionist hockey the last two years. Now he’s married and with a baby too. Safe to say the fire isn’t there on the ice. He wants to stay healthy and isn’t committed like the Hawks were expecting him to be. He wants to be able to play like a skilled finesse wing. Can’t be possible. He’s got to.be the guy who plays like hell on skates, gets his body in front of the net and scrapes paint every shift.

    Won’t be able to trade him in the offseason. Let’s not pretend his contract is movable. Maybe we can flip bad contract for bad contract.

  7. re: Mox17 – look at Bickell’s game log. Zero agenda to the concept that putting a point on the board twice in 19 games sucks….

    it cracks me up when some fans believe anyone criticizing a player/Q = having an agenda. It’s fact, kids. Bickell hasn’t done crap for long stretches his entire career. He’s getting $4M per because he showed up for 23 games in 2013.

  8. In todays NHL we must deal with a hard cap and any players value is most certainly tied to his contract. If he were made available on the open market for free would anyone take him? …just pick up his contract and he ‘s yours. If not then even “free” is too high a price. Waivers are players for free, temporarily anyway, and many times 29 teams say ” no thanks, you keep him”. Mike Richards cleared vaiwers in LA, a player with a winning pedigree, veteran, but a huge cap hit through to 2020. So the Blackhawks might be asking ” how much would it take to get him and $4 million off the books. Do we retain salary? Fix a broken player, change of scenery and all that kind of talk. Stan Bowman needs to get creative with this. Every other team has these kind of guys so do we trade for one of those? Takeaway for me is that at least Coach Q has publicly given him a warning shot across the bow first. Strangly enough, I’ve noticed and personally know, fans from other teams think he his a great asset so maybe this is a widely held thought that goes right to the top on the other teams.

  9. For better information and insight see Sean McIndoes Feb 5th/15 column “In praise of the NHL’s Negative Value Guy”. How about Bickell for Stempniak? I would rather see Bicks turn it around.

  10. Unfortunately Bicks is the star in a remake of the classic movie “groundhog day” and what we keep seeing over and over is mediocre play. Hopefully he picks it up for the playoffs so his contract can be moved.

  11. Tab, great article. I was in favor of resigning Bickell at 4 million for 4. He was so dominant in the postseason of 2013. I thought he finally figured it out and what a springboard for the next year. Additionally I felt other teams would be lining up to sign Bicks for a lot more (the summer of Clarkson) so I felt 29 was committed to the Hawks. Kind of a “good deal for both” thing. I was totally wrong. None of his play since then, sans two rounds of the 2014 playoffs, has been any good. He just doesn’t have it or doesn’t want to do what is needed for the team. We all know the style of play he needs to have to work with the Hawks and he continues to not do it.

    Don’t blame Q for this. He played Bicks on the top line last year briefly, but had to drop him quick because he wasn’t doing anything ( 29 had come back from his knee injury…probably too soon). We need to stop acting like the lines are set in stone (especially with Q). Your play can dictate which line you get on, there has to be some sustainability in your play to get moved up or down. When has Bickell demonstrated that? We will just have to see if someone takes him, but I think he can be moved. Some money or term will be coming back, but probably not at 4 million a year.

  12. Just saw a photo of Bickell at Sat. practice… skated in a Raanta #31 jersey!!! lol
    was that Q’s doing??? Bickell being funny???

    don’t know!!!

  13. From Grand Forks, ND Herald – “The biggest concern for UND after the game was the health of freshman forward Nick Schmaltz, who left the game after a big hit behind the net in the third period. Schmaltz didn’t return and Hakstol said he didn’t have any updates immediately following the game.” (Story about Saturday night’s game vs. Miami University.)

    Schmaltz missed time for “upper body” injury after a Wisconsin game earlier in the year, despite playing the rest of the Wisconsin game in which the injury was sustained. At the time it was speculated that the Wisconsin injury was a possible concussion. Just hope Schmaltz is not dealing with concussion symptoms after last night’s incident.

  14. Tab – I respect your knowledge and opinions on such things…..could you please comment on the Bickell situation as far as you see it now, as it pertains to the off-season? I think that you understand cap and salary issues better than most, and are best suited to give predictions on what value Bickell could generate in return if he is dealt. Bickell is an enigma to me, as he is to many. Not enough consistency, and perhaps not enough fire. If you don’t want to get that involved in predictions, I will understand.

  15. Also, for anyone else…..what are the thoughts on Nordstrom. I like his energy and his physicality. He can obviously skate well and has a good “motor”. Does he have any chance to develop into a scorer? If he could add that dimension in a slight way it would be a big improvement. Thanks for any replies.

  16. Tab-I wasn’t really referring to Bicks only. More of a general statement, as Wall believes he should be running the Hawks.

  17. Nordstrom can skate and is a legitimate two way player who can play on the PK. He’s going to be an upgrade over Smith and given the impending cap crunch he will be counted upon to be a mainstay next season. Scoring ability? Meh.

  18. Big Indy– 42 will never be a scorer… But, he has scored some in the AHL, and he isn’t as bad as his Zero goals indicate… give him 2-3 years to build some upper body strength and he might actually fight thru a check and grab, and score around the net… like 16, 42 does go to the greasy areas- but like 16- just isn’t strong enough to win those battles yet.

    then there is 29 who only goes/scores in the greasy areas in contract years.

  19. One last thing about Bickell, when asked in his miraculous playoff run a few years ago why he didn’t play like that all the time he said, this is a quote, he couldn’t play like that all the time. It was too hard and too hard on his body. The condensed time frame is what let him go nuts. Crazy.

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