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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville sends message to Bryan Bickell

“He needs get going” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Bryan Bickell (above). | Bruce Bennett~Getty Images

“He needs to get going,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Bryan Bickell (above). | Bruce Bennett~Getty Images

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Updated: December 2, 2011 2:11PM

There was a point early last season when Bryan Bickell needed a kick in the you-know-what to get him going. So coach Joel Quenneville sat the big winger for a couple games.

“I know a big part of my game is my consistency,” Bickell said. “[Quenneville] gave me a wrist slap to say, ‘If you want to be in this league full-time, you’ve got to be more consistent.’ ”

Bickell responded with a solid and promising first full season in the NHL. But it sounds as if he needed another wake-up call, which Quenneville delivered when he was asked about Bickell after practice Tuesday.

After finishing with 17 goals and 37 points last season, Bickell has had some up-and-down moments in exhibition play.

“He needs to get going,” Quenneville said. “I know [Bickell] is coming off [an injury] last year [and is] dealing with that. But we’re looking for Bick’s game to improve as we go along here.”

This training camp has a different feel to it than last year for Bickell. He’s in the second year of a three-year contract, and he has found a niche as a physical, checking forward on the third line.

“But I can’t take anything for granted,” Bickell said. “Lots of guys here have played in the league, and they’re not going to back down. I’m working as hard as I can right now to get back in game shape. I want to start how I finished.”

Bickell recorded points in four consecutive games in the playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks before undergoing surgery to repair a severed tendon in his wrist before Game 7.

The injury occurred in Game 2 when he was cut by a skate. Bickell missed Game 3, but considering the success he had playing with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik, he waited until the last possible day for the surgery before further damage was done.

“That was a tough one to swallow, but I’m ready for this year and all fired up,” Bickell said.

It’s just a matter of that fire showing up every game.

“I know I can bring more to the table, and they expect big things from me,” Bickell said. “I need to be more consistent. The most important part right now is the mental part. The physical is there. I just need to be more mentally in tune and ready for the games.”

A happy Salak

With the competition for the backup goalie spot nearing an end, rookie Alexander Salak said he’s happy with how he has performed, which is good because he probably will face only teammates for the rest of the preseason.

Corey Crawford will play the entire game Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center and should play in the preseason finale Sunday against the Capitals in Washington. Ray Emery will play the entire game Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I did my best every time on the ice,” Salak said. “I just tried to do my best. That’s all I can do. That’s all I concentrated on, so I’m really happy about my performance.”

Stars are in

Patrick Kane (wrist surgery) and Marian Hossa will make their preseason debuts against the Red Wings.

Patrick Sharp (appendectomy) skated for the third time since his surgery but has yet to join his teammates at practice.

“Each and every day he’s able to do a little bit more,” Quenneville said.

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