Motivated Bryan Bickell wants his name on Stanley Cup
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com April 23, 2013 8:09PM
PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Updated: April 24, 2013 7:55PM
EDMONTON, Alberta — As the clock wound down in the biggest third period in modern Blackhawks history — Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals three springs ago in Philadelphia — Bryan Bickell was back in the locker room with the other scratches, putting on his pristine gear so he could run out onto the ice and celebrate with his teammates in something other than a three-piece suit.
Then the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell scored, tying the game 3-3 with 3:59 left in regulation.
‘‘We were like, ‘Oh, jeez, we’ve got to hide somewhere,’ ’’ Bickell recalled. ‘‘We weren’t just going to stand there in the room in our full gear during the intermission.’’
So in the tense 15 minutes before arguably the biggest moment in franchise lore, Bickell and Co. crammed into the visitors’ training room at the Wells Fargo Center in full gear — skates and pads on — trying not to be noticed by their teammates, who had just had the Stanley Cup ripped out of their hands.
Eventually, the Hawks returned to the ice and Bickell returned to the dressing room to watch on TV. Eventually, Patrick Kane’s Cup-winning goal that nobody but Kane saw indeed was ruled a goal. And eventually, Bickell got to skate around the ice in his clean, dry sweater and do what just about every little Canadian kid dreams of doing.
‘‘I lifted it,’’ Bickell said. ‘‘Touched it. Kissed it.’’
Indeed, he got to hoist it, got a ring commemorating it and got a day with it. He took it fishing along the Otonabee River in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario.
But he didn’t get his name on it. A player has to play in at least 41 regular-season games or in one Stanley Cup finals game to have his name etched on to the most famous trophy in sports. Bickell played in 16 regular-season games and four playoff games — none of them in the finals.
So while everyone in the Hawks’ dressing room wants to win the Cup again this season, few people in there want it quite as badly as Bickell.
‘‘I remember going to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as a kid, seeing it, touching it and getting pictures of it,’’ he said. ‘‘Winning it was an amazing experience; it lived up to what you dream of when you’re a kid playing in Canada. But my name’s not on it. I think that drives me more — to get the name on there.’’
Bickell played the final three games of the opening series against the Nashville Predators — all Hawks victories. But the Hawks lost Game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks 5-1, and coach Joel Quenneville shook up his lineup. The Hawks won the next three and won the series in six games before sweeping the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals. The team was rolling, so Quenneville didn’t mess with his lineup. That left Bickell on the outside looking in.
If the Hawks make another run, this season will be different. Bickell’s not a rookie role player anymore; he’s a big part of a remarkable season. He has played in all 45 games so far, with nine goals (including two game-winners) and 14 assists on the left wing of the Hawks’ consistently effective third line. He’s the team’s most physical player with 104 hits and has been a reliable presence on both ends of the ice, posting a plus-13 rating.
‘‘Bicks has had a nice year,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘That line has been our best line a lot of nights.’’
So if the Hawks live up to their expectations and realize their ultimate goal, Bickell won’t be watching from the dressing room or ducking around corners to hide from his teammates. If he hoists the Cup again, his sweater will be soaked in sweat and ice. And, given Bickell’s style, maybe a little blood.
And afterward, his name will be etched into the sterling silver of the Stanley Cup, there for posterity, for future generations of kids to see at the Hall of Fame, to touch, to dream.
‘‘When you’re a kid, you want to be a part of something like that, and it was surreal and fun and an amazing experience,’’ Bickell said. ‘‘I’m just hoping we can do it again this year. I want to be a big part of it.’’