Forward Bryan Bickell drew first blood with a mighty swing in the Blackhawk’s preseason loss against the Penguins last night.
Despite his capabilities as an enforcer when needed, it was on the scoreboard and not in fisticuffs that he showed his skills.
After seeing this play, it isn’t too surprising Bickell has a history in baseball.
In a player blog post last postseason, he admitted that at 15 he was scouted by the New York Yankees.
“The funny thing is I would also play baseball in the summer because my parents wanted me to shift my focus away from hockey for at least a little while. They didn’t want me to be thinking about hockey all the time. I got pretty good at baseball.”
A year later, the two sporting schedules conflicted just when prime scouting took place.
“That’s when I realized I needed to choose, and it was not really a choice. Growing up Canadian, you dream of becoming a hockey player, not a baseball player,” Bickell shared.
For that, Blackhawks fans are certainly thankful. Not only was he an excellent contributor toward the Cup, his talents yielded two goals in last night’s preseason game.
The Penguins’ Kris Letang answered those in the third period, tying the game. In yet another shootout, Sidney Crosby and James Neal scored while Bickell and Brandon Pirri were unable. The Blackhawks lost 3-2.
Penguins’ Captain Crosby joined Letang, Neal, Evgeni Malkin, and Chris Kunitz in the game, an all-star lineup for a preseason showing.
It was a somewhat uneven matchup otherwise–the Blackhawks without Captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp.
Pirri battled for a Blackhawks roster spot before regular season. Another round of cuts is expected this week.
Recently, Coach Joel Quenneville sent forwards Alex Broadhurst, Mark McNeill, and Garret Ross, defensemen Dylan Olsen, Adam Clendening, and Klas Dahlbeck, and goaltender Kent Simpson to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Also released and expected to go to Rockford is defenseman Viktor Svedberg.
Standout forward Teuvo Teravainen returned to Jokerit SM-liiga of Finland. Forward Ryan Hartman will head back to the Ontario Hockey League Plymouth Whalers.
Goalie Nickolai Khabibulin made a solid 31 saves.
The Blackhawks play the Washington Capitals Saturday, a preview to the season opener October 1. Fans are relying on Coach Q and the gang to restore chemistry by then.