It’s spring, that wonderful time of year when the flowers bloom, the post-season begins and Bryan Bickell wakes from his winter slumber for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bickell was a monster in Sunday’s 4-1 Hawks victory over the Minnesota Wild. The 28-year-old scored a goal and two assists in the victory, giving him eight points in as many games this post-season. He was incredible, in part because you probably found yourself staring at him incredulously.
Because there’s no doubt about it now: regular season be damned, Bryan Bickell is all about the post-season.
Just a few short months ago, many were bemoaning the apparent bust that was Bickell and his newly-signed four-year, $16-million contract.
And you couldn’t blame those doubters. Bickell rode a glorious 2013 playoff campaign to a huge raise on his league-minimum contract in the summer, then disappeared in the regular season. Bickell’s nine goals and 17 points in 23 playoff games last year turned into just 11 goals and 15 points in 59 games this season. For the folks counting at home, that’s even worse than his 23 points in 48 games in 2012-13.
It sure looked like the Blackhawks had overpaid for one really good post-season - something we’ve seen other teams fall victim to as well. Bickell wasn’t in Ville Leino bust territory (heck, it’d be pretty tough for anyone to be as awful as Leino was this year), but he still looked like a mistake. And let’s not forget, the Blackhawks traded away clutch center Dave Bolland to make room for Bickell under their salary cap.
But all is well now. Just ask Twitter.
And if Bickell helps Chicago repeat as Stanley Cup champs, who cares what he does in the regular season?