TAMPA — The last two postseasons have been pretty, pretty good for Bryan Bickell.
But this year?
Not so much.
The burly power forward has no goals — zero, zilch, nada — after scoring 16 in the previous two playoffs combined, and scoring them consistently; last year, Bickell scored at least one in each of Chicago’s three series and, the year prior, scored three against the Wild, two against the Red Wings, three against the Kings and one (fairly famous one) against the Bruins.
But this spring, nothing. It’s something he wants to change.
“It’s nice to score a goal every once in a while,” Bickell said during Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Final Media Day. “Hopefully I’ve been saving them for this round.”
In the second of a four-year, $16 million deal, Bickell netted that contract — and his $4M average annual salary — largely because of his strong postseason efforts, which allowed fans and media to overlook his routinely pedestrian regular-season efforts. The thinking was that Bickell always showed up in the playoffs, and Chicago would always make them, so all good.
Well, maybe not all good.
Bickell was a healthy scratch on a few occasions this year, an indication that head coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t content to let the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder wait ’til April to start playing. But it was also indicative of the coach understanding what buttons to push; in the aftermath, Bickell acknowledged he occasionally needs motivation, saying the healthy scratch provided a spark. Quenneville admitted it was a tried-and-true tactic.
“Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Whether you get their attention or you think they’re going to be better … you want to give yourself a chance to win the next hockey game.”
Unfortunately for both, the tactic isn’t a logical move right now, what with (at most) seven games left in the year. So Bickell and Quenneville will instead rely on repeating the power forward’s mantra:
Use your size, use your body.
“[I have to] do what I’ve been doing the first couple rounds,” Bickell said. “To be physical, to wear down their down D, to get my centerman and winger more space.
“All the pieces are coming together to get to this point as team, and we’re getting our wins. Ultimately, we’re four wins away from winning again.”