Frolik, Bickell need rebound seasons

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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.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Vinnie Hinostroza talks rookie season and new wrinkle to offseason training

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Vinnie Hinostroza talks rookie season and new wrinkle to offseason training

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, forward Vinnie Hinostroza joins Pat Boyle and evaluates his rookie season, tells us how he has added MMA and Ju-jitsu to his offseason training and is he going to room with Ryan Hartman next season?

Plus, Tracey Myers joins Pat to discuss Patrick Kane’s first interview this offseason, the latest on the Blackhawks coaching moves and tournament fall-out for Artemi Panarin, Marcus Kruger and Alex DeBrincat.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below.