Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted 5:19 PM
By Tracey Myers
Bryan Bickell was just fine with changing his game a bit.
The Chicago Blackhawks forward has played more of the grinder role in his American League and young NHL career. But in recent games, Bickell has adjusted to a new role: checking-line wing.
And so far, change has been very good.
Bickell has been part of a solid shut-down line with Dave Bolland and Troy Brouwer, and has added a few points for good measure. It's been a bit of an adjustment for Bickell, but so far, so good.
"We have a pretty good line and it's been going well; we've been playing a lot of minutes against lines," said Bickell, whose line with Bolland and Brouwer was good for two goals and three assists on Wednesday. Bickell, who had a goal (his sixth of the season) and an assist, said he's adapting to his new role.
"You have to change your game to the style up here," he said. "You never know. Next year it could change again. But so far it's been working out well."
Bickell entered this season as someone the Blackhawks wanted to be a big, physical presence on ice. He showed glimpses of it, but not enough and was scratched for a few games. Quenneville said Bickell responded once he was back into the lineup.
"He had a decent stretch, then not in the lineup to now when he's playing good minutes and doing a good job," he said. "Bicks can skate and can see and make plays. He's learning the defensive side of the game and his own end. There's room for improvement in that game but his awareness can make him a better player."
Bickell said he's also comfortable working with Bolland, as the two have played together in the past.
"We're old buddies from back in the day and now we're having fun right now here," he said. "Hopefully it keeps going."
Brouwer said Bickell's added plenty on the ice.
"He's been funny out there, that's for sure. He's an animated player," Brouwer said. "He's done a great job out there. He's got a great shot, he sees the ice well and he's playing a lot of good minutes. Q's got a lot of trust in him right now. He's playing against the team's top line every night and still finding ways to produce."
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.