Sep 27, 2013, 8:36 AM EDT
“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.
For the Chicago Blackhawks we picked… forward Bryan Bickell.
Let’s be honest. Chicago just won the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons. Expectations are high, but as a team, they could fall short this season and there wouldn’t be a lot of anger or calls for change.
There are players though that are out to prove that they can replicate their personal success from last season and then there are players that will be asked to do far more in 2013-14. Bickell fits into both categories.
Bickell has averaged just 12:39 minutes per game over the course of his career and he didn’t get much more playing time than that during the 2013 regular season, but he had a solid campaign and then took things a step further in the playoffs. He finished second on the Blackhawks and fifth in the league with 17 points in 23 postseason contests.
The timing couldn’t have been better for him because he was set to become an unrestricted free agent, but Chicago couldn’t let their playoff hero go so they inked him to a four-year, $16 million deal. That’s quite a step up from his previous three-year agreement that paid him an average of $541,667 annually.
“[Bickell is] one of our key parts of our lineup now. He’s got to know that going into this season and realize he’s not counted on being a third-line player or a checking-line guy.
“He’s got to do what he did in the playoffs. That’s what’s expected from him now.”
And Bickell seems to understand that.
“I need to have that same mind-set I had in the playoffs all year,” Bickell told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I felt I was focused and really learned what I needed to do to be the player I want to be.”
It’s a lot to ask of Bickell, who had just 67 points in 172 NHL games before the 2013 campaign, but the Blackhawks are taking a significant chance. If he regresses and performs as a third liner, then his $4 million cap hit will look pretty bad on a team that’s trying to make the most of their glory years.
The Blackhawks didn’t want to lose significant pieces of their team like they did 2010. Now Bickell needs to show that they were right to count him among the players that they couldn’t part with.
For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:52 AM EDT
Their in Vancouver to face the Canucks on Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:08 AM EDT
Crawford pulled in the first period.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:28 PM EDT
Crawford was pulled late in the first period.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
That’s a blow to Calgary’s post-season hopes.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Nine points since joining Florida.
Mar 27, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
Not a great start for Chicago.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
The club says he’s expected to make a full recovery.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
New York plays twice this weekend.
Mar 27, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT
They play in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Mar 27, 2015, 6:24 PM EDT
Hasn’t played since Feb. 24.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
Terriers move one step closer to the Frozen Four.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT
“In the middle of the ice in our system, it’s a lot of work.”
Mar 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT
And, quite possibly, for the remainder of the season.
Mar 27, 2015, 4:06 PM EDT
Nail-biting time for Bruins fans.
Mar 27, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT
Joins Pavel Datsyuk and Erik Cole on the shelf.
Mar 27, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT
Mar 27, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
26-15-5 in their last 46 games.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
Washington sophomore now $2,000 lighter in the pocket.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
Vancouver laid another egg last night versus the Avs.
- Could Lundqvist start Saturday for the Rangers? 6
- Five big games to watch this weekend 6
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 33
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 36
- Bruins can’t hold Ducks off, suffer sixth loss in a row 32
- Ticket punched: Rangers become first team to clinch 2015 playoff berth 15
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT 55
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 20
- Is Lecavalier offering to retire early to facilitate trade out of Philly? 28
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)