Bryan Bickell is pretty sure he’s doing the same things he’s done in previous postseasons, when pucks were going in for him much more than they are now.
“I look into my journal, ‘Back in 19…’” Bickell said to laughs on Sunday, prior to the Blackhawks’ departure to Anaheim for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. “I feel like I am [doing the same things]: be physical, be hard on defensemen, create opportunities off that.”
The pucks, however, are not going in this postseason. He’s gotten a couple of assists but no goals. Even a series against the Minnesota Wild, which usually has a bull-in-a-china-shop affect on the Blackhawks forward, got his production going. He’s been close: he hit the crossbar and redirected a Brent Seabrook shot that hit the post in Game 4, a 5-4 double-overtime victory for the Blackhawks.
So Bickell keeps going, and tries to avoid pressing, while he looks for that elusive postseason goal.
“It’d be nice to see the puck go into the back of the net more than it has,” he said. “It feels like it’s getting closer. If I don’t get those opportunities, then you guess what’s wrong. I rang one off the crossbar, an inch from going in and swinging the game.”
Any postseason Bickell ever has is compared to 2013, when he had a tremendous one. Bickell recorded nine goals and eight assists in those playoffs, including the game-tying goal in the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 6 against the Boston Bruins. That postseason earned him his current four-year, $16-million contract. He was solid last postseason, with another seven goals in 19 games. But through 14 games this spring, he has just five assists.
Physically, Bickell’s been there. He currently leads all players this postseason with 89 hits. That’s been key, especially in this series against the Ducks, which has been a physical one.
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As far as that offense, coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell’s still taking the right approach.
“I think, you know, he still gets on the body. I think he's a threat,” he said. “He hit the crossbar. He had a great chance I think to end it in Game 2. Last night, a couple decent looks. A couple plays looked like they almost got through. I still think he brings something to our team, yeah.”
Bickell’s not happy he’s gone scoreless so far this season. But pressing isn’t going to solve anything. So he’ll keep trying what’s worked for him previously.
“I just need to be physical, get into the paint and create havoc,” Bickell said. “I’m sure one will eventually go in.”