Frolik, Bickell need rebound seasons

980555.png

Frolik, Bickell need rebound seasons

Bryan Bickell and Michael Froliks respective European hockey teams were only about 180 miles apart. Bickell played for HC Znojmo in the Austrian League and Frolik for Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga, just minutes from his offseason home.
Now back in Chicago and preparing for this upcoming 48-game season, their individual goals are about as close as their overseas squads.
Both Bickell and Frolik are coming off frustrating and disappointing seasons with the Blackhawks. Both enjoyed their time playing in Europe and now hope that work there boosts them toward better performances in Blackhawks uniforms.
I wasnt very good last year and I know I can be better, said Frolik, who had 13 goals and 10 assists in 29 games for Chomutov. I worked this summer, played some games in the Czech Republic; Im in good shape but I think I can prove I can be better than last year.
Frolik came to Chicago after tallying two consecutive 21-goal seasons for the Florida Panthers. He hasnt scored 21 goals in the past three seasons combined. Frolik admitted last season that he was pressing, squeezing the stick in frustration and reiterated that again on Friday.
The more you want to score the more it kind of goes against you. I just have to try to forget that and just play the game and try to be relaxed, said Frolik, who added he played in every situation for Chomutov. I just want to play like the first two years (in Florida), and even better.
Bickell is in the same boat, although hes also in the final year of his current contract. Hes coming off a tough 2011-12 during which he was an on againoff again healthy scratch down the regular-season stretch. Bickell was more of a top-line player for Znojmo, for which he tallied nine goals and 18 assists in 28 games.
My first year was a good year and last year was a speed bump, Bickell said. Being overseas and coming into the season where I am now, I feel good. I need to bring it every game, no shifts, no days off, whether its talking to the doc or our leaders to help me through that inconsistency in my game.
Bickell said his Austrian League play was beneficial for several reasons, especially his skating. The bruising forward played in a league that featured more skill than physical play, but he knows that hell need to use his body more again over here to succeed.
When (coach Joel Quenneville) puts me on the power play or whenever, Im there to raise some havoc on the ice. I need to work on screens and tips, Bickell said. This could be a big year for me.
Both Frolik and Bickell are looking to have big years. They got plenty out of their European play. That work needs to come through here with the Blackhawks immediately.
Its an important year for me and the team, Bickell said. We need to have a good start, and so do I.

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews was named alternate captain of Team Canada on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Sidney Crosby was named Team Canada’s captain. Crosby, who claimed his second Stanley Cup in June, was also Team Canada’s captain en route to the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

[SHOP: Buy a Jonathan Toews jersey]

Toews, who has been the Blackhawks’ captain since the 2008-09 season, was also alternate captain of Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens will serve as Team Canada’s other alternate captain.

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith will not be part of the Blackhawks’ World Cup of Hockey contingent after all.

Keith will focus on improving his health rather than play for Team Canada in the tournament, which takes place next month in Toronto. The Blackhawks released a statement regarding Keith on Wednesday afternoon.

"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in the statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."

Keith had surgery on that knee last October and was sidelined about one month.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will take Keith’s place.

Report: Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen a 'major candidate' for Avalanche coaching job

Report: Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen a 'major candidate' for Avalanche coaching job

The Colorado Avalanche are looking for a new head coach, and Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen is reportedly a "major candidate" to land the job, according to Mike Chambers and Terry Frei of The Denver Post.

Dineen, 52, has spent the last two seasons as Joel Quenneville's right-hand man, and helped guide the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory in 2015.

He previously served as the head coach for the Florida Panthers, where he went 56-62-28 in two and a half seasons with the team.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear here]

Dineen is familiar with the Colorado area as well, playing collegiate hockey at the University of Denver from 1981-83. He scored 26 goals and 23 assists in 67 games across two seasons with the Pioneers, and was named captain as a sophomore.

Because he's under contract with the Blackhawks for the 2016-17 season, the Avalanche would have to seek permission to interview Dineen, and it's possible it already happened.

The Avalanche are looking to replace Patrick Roy after he resigned on Aug. 11 due to philosophical differences with management.

Roy was 130-92-24 in three years with the Avalanche, guiding his former club to a Central Division title in his first season but missing out on the playoffs the past two years.