MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Bryan Bickell talked last week that he needed to show more energy, even anger, in his game.
Unfortunately it wasn’t there against the Calgary Flames, the lone game he has played on the Chicago Blackhawks’ current road trip. But as the Blackhawks continue their West Coast swing, it sounds like he’ll get another chance to get back in the lineup.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell “could” play — which usually means someone will play — when the Blackhawks take on the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Corey Crawford will get the start and Marian Hossa, who took a maintenance day when the Blackhawks practiced on Sunday, is expected to play.
It’s been tough sledding for Bickell, who has been scratched three of the Blackhawks’ last four games. Last week in Calgary, Bickell said he knows Quenneville is trying to draw the best — and the beast — out of him.
“He wants to get me angry and mad on the ice and bring the physical game,” Bickell said. “I need to do more and get myself more in the game I haven’t deserved to be (playing), but hopefully I can turn it around on this road trip.”
Quenneville said Bickell has to react to his struggles.
“I would think that whether it’s a healthy scratch bothers him or his play bothers him, I hope both bother him enough that he’s going to do something about it,” Quenneville said following the Blackhawks’ Sunday practice. “He’s fine (physically). Maybe it’s having confidence in what you’re able to do and not have hesitation. That’s going to come, but there shouldn’t be a hindrance as far as ability to do what he can do. He just has to recapture it.”
Teammates have supported Bickell through his tough on-ice time.
“It’s not easy for a guy like that,” Jonathan Toews said. “You’re always trying to remind him of what he’s capable of doing as a player. Anyone can forget that, sometimes when things aren’t going your way, it seems to snowball in the wrong direction. Everyone on this team has a role to play and if playing well, you’re going to get more responsibility. If not, you know how it works. For Bicks, it’s about rebuilding that confidence and not being too hard on himself. There’s a lot of time for him to get his game back and his teammates are supporting him.”
Patrick Sharp said Bickell’s gone to some players and “talked quietly, tried to learn as much as he can.”
“That’s what you like about him: he knows things aren’t going well but he’s determined to work hard and get out of it,” Sharp said. “Our team has a lot of veteran players who have gone through streaks like that, (have had) times when things haven’t gone so well, so we know he’ll break through at any moment.”