Kane to Bickell: You’re not a third-liner anymore


It’s expected that Bryan Bickell will be linemates with Patrick Kane in Chicago this season.

And hey, speaking of expectations….

“[Bickell is] one of our key parts of our lineup now,” Kane told the Chicago Tribune. “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.”

Bickell, 27, raised exceptions exponentially over a three-month span earlier this year.

He had a breakthrough playoff performance en route to the Stanley Cup, scoring 17 points in 23 games. That included nine goals (two of the game-winning variety) and his emergence as the big-body, net-front presence the club lacked since Dustin Byfuglien during the ’10 Stanley Cup run.

Then came the money.

Bickell, who was making a modest $541,666 per year on his old deal, scored one of the biggest raises of the summer by signing a four-year, $16 million extension. That put him among Chicago’s richest forwards, trailing only Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa in terms of average annual cap hit ($4 million).

Bickell knows all this will mean increased expectations for the season, and he’s willing to accept the challenge.

“There is more pressure on my shoulders, but I feel where I was a couple of years ago my game is getting better every year and my mental game is where it needs to be,” he said. “I feel happy to be back here with the contract I have.

“I’m just looking forward to the challenge.”

Avs unveil new third jerseys

Avs Jerseys

The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr
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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith