NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is calling in the reserves.
Adam Burish and Bryan Bickell have not played in the first three games against the Nashville Predators, but unless Quenneville changes his mind, expect both of them to dress for Game 4 on Thursday, and expect them both to be factors.
In Burish, the Hawks get a pure energy guy. It’s important, since it’s exactly what they lacked in losing Game 3 4-1.
“That’s probably what his niche is as far as energy and speed,” Quenneville said. “He gives us a good option.”
Burish lined up with John Madden and Troy Brouwer during drills on Wednesday. He’s been quiet while waiting patiently for his playoff debut. After practice, he talked of knowing exactly what the Hawks lacked in Game 3.
“We have to have more urgency,” Burish said. “We didn’t have that urgency to our game. In the playoffs, you have to have that.”
“They dictated the pace. To win in the playoffs it’s not always about your skill. It’s about who is going to work harder, who is going to be more competitive, who is going to have that will to win. When you look across the ice and see that guy next to you, you have to think “that guy is not going to beat me, he’s not going to out-will me, he’s not going to outwork me.”
If Burish has the pressure of providing sorely missed energy, then Bickell’s pressure comes in another form. He’ll line up with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and be asked to be the muscle who retrieves the puck for the Hawk stars, and then he has to go to the net.
“At the start of the year, I played with them for about three or four games,” Bickell said. “I guess [Quenneville] likes it. [We’ll] see if we can get a little spark going and get some more offense.”
From the bench to arguably the Hawks’ top line, it’s quite the turnaround.
“He gives you some size and some speed,” Quenneville said of Bickell. “He’s got some decent hands and a nice shot as well. I think we can get some energy off [him] as well.”
Energy and production. Burish and Bickell. It’s worth the try.