Jan 29, 2014, 10:55 AM EDT
In fact, he agrees with it.
“It was frustrating but, the way my game’s been going, I feel like I deserved to sit out,” Bickell said, per CSN Chicago. “[Coach Joel Quenneville] wants to get me angry and mad on the ice and bring the physical game.
“I need to do more and get myself more into the game.”
Bickell, who signed a four-year, $16 million extension after last year’s stellar Stanley Cup run, has struggled mightily under increased expectations this season. Missing 14 games with a knee injury hasn’t helped things but, even when healthy, Bickell has yet to find the form that saw him score nine goals and 17 points in 23 games last postseason, emerging as a key power forward en route to Chicago’s second Cup in four years.
The 27-year-old was minus-6 in 11 games prior to the Winnipeg contest, scoring just one goal. Quenneville had trimmed his minutes significantly, holding Bickell under 10 in each of Chicago’s last six games before finally dropping him in favor of defenseman Mike Kostka — who played his first NHL game at forward — on Sunday.
Bickell drew back in for last night’s 5-4 OT loss to Calgary, but wasn’t especially effective. In just over 10 minutes of play he finished minus-1 with two hits and two shots on goal.
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