Bryan Bickell has not been having a good season. One year after his surprise performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Bickell has performed rather subpar. This does not bode well for the Chicago Blackhawks, who need the big winger to perform. Bickell’s hefty new contract certainly put some pressure on him, but now that he’s had some rest it’s possible he could be back to the level of play he needs to sustain.
Bickell has struggled much of this season. After suffering a knee injury in December, he missed 21 games. Overall he’s only scored three goals with one assist and head coach Joel Quenneville has benched him on occasion. It should be obvious that Bickell is getting frustrated which is expected when not performing up to standard.
But the Olympic break has given Bickell a chance to recharge his batteries. While there are certainly concerns about the Olympics, it does give non-Olympians a chance to rest. And Bickell took full advantage of it as he took some time off to go on a fishing excursion. Since then, he’s come back seemingly a new man, and Quenneville recognizes this. “I think it helped him,” Quenneville told the media, “The last two days is the best I’ve seen him skate here all year.”
“It definitely helped to step away and not think about hockey for a couple weeks,” Bickell told the media. He compared it to a new season, which is a good attitude regarding the home stretch — a chance to start over. He also talked about how he’s going to have to pick up the slack for the Olympians, just like the rest of the team is. This attitude is what the fans and coaches want to see from him.
Bickell knows he hasn’t performed as he should, but that isn’t stopping him. Now that he’s gotten some rest, Bickell will be energized and ready to go once the “new season” begins. He’s healthy, he’s relaxed and he’s got plenty of juice in the tank. Now all that needs to be seen is if he can perform. But there should be little doubt he’ll give it his all.