After another pointless evening, Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was put on blast by coach Joel Quenneville at practice on Saturday.
Joel Quenneville on Bryan Bickell: “He’s got to be better.” #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 7, 2015
Bickell was not skating with the Hawks top four lines during Saturday morning’s skate. Quenneville rolled out the following lines:
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.