“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.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.