Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Quenneville hopes benching sparks Bickell
By Scott Powers
Joel Quenneville wouldn't describe it as a message, but the Chicago Blackhawks' Bryan Bickell understood what his coach was attempting to do when he made the forward a healthy scratch on Sunday.
Bryan Bickell has had a January to forget with one goal and a minus-six rating before his benching on Sunday.
"He needs to be physically involved in his game, more direct in his play and stronger on the puck," Quenneville said Tuesday. "We like to say that we're a four-line team and we're hard to play against, but that's been pretty sporadic. That's why guys like Bryan are so important to this team. When he's on his game and those things are happening, then I know he's involved in the game, and that leads to some success for our team."
Bickell will play Tuesday against the Calgary Flames, and he's happy to be back in the rotation.
"It was like a slap on the wrist," Bickell said. "(Quenneville) wants more out of me, and I know I need to do more. With the way my game has been going, I deserved to sit.
"It's frustrating watching, I definitely didn't enjoy it at all. I need to channel that anger and turn it into a strong effort tonight."
Quenneville had been letting Bickell know through his ice time that he's been unhappy with Bickell's play throughout January. Prior to Sunday, Bickell, who signed a four-year, $16 million contract last summer, played less than 10 minutes in eight game this month. He's had one goal and a minus-six rating for January.
Bickell went through some inconsistencies early in the season, but he still produced five goals and was averaging 13-plus minutes through 22 games. He suffered a knee injury on Nov. 19 and missed nearly a month of game action. Since returning, he's had two goals, one assist and minus-seven rating in 17 games.
"Any injury will take a certain period of time to recover from, but I'm far past that now, so there are no excuses," Bickell said. "I need to get going. I've proven that I can be an effective player for this team."
The Blackhawks open a six-game road trip in Calgary prior to the Olympic break.