Bickell took his time Saturday maneuvering the puck around the Toronto Maple Leafs' defensemen and goaltender Jonathan Bernier before knocking it home into the corner of net during the second period Saturday for his first goal of the season.
“I was wondering why he didn’t put it in, but at the end, it was a nice finish,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said while laughing after the Blackhawks’ 3-1 home win.
Bickell remarked, “I didn’t know how I had that in me.”
What Bickell did know was he is capable of scoring goals. He had done so throughout his career, but after his playoff heroics last season, which led to a sizeable offseason contract, Bickell was feeling the weight of being goalless after the first seven games of this campaign.
“That’s kind of tough,” said Bickell, who had nine goals in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. “It was a big summer coming into this year. I felt there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders to produce. I think I was getting away from my game what I did before that works. Now, we switched it up. Hopefully, I can get my confidence back and just figure out my game and just play it every night.”
Bickell was moved from the top line and reunited with Andrew Shaw on the third line against the Maple Leafs. Bickell, Shaw and Viktor Stalberg comprised the third line most of last season. Marcus Kruger was the other winger on Saturday.
Quenneville believed the change in lines helped get Bickell jump-started on Saturday. He finished with three shots on goal.
“I think he was more comfortable playing in that position he was accustomed to the last few years,” Quenneville said. “But good patience on the play as well. Nice to see him get that off his back, and I’m sure he’ll be more comfortable in the scoring area going forward.”
Bickell was hopeful of the same occurrence. He had recently compared scoring to a ketchup bottle in that ketchup normally pours freely once it gets going.
“That’s a nice one,” Bickell said of the goal. “I gave the comment a couple days ago about the ketchup bottle. Nice to get that first one.”