Bryan Bickell has been sliding down the lineup lately. Will Ben Smith's arrival cut into his playing time?
The Chicago Blackhawks made a roster switch in the hours leading up to their game in Vancouver Wednesday, putting Rostislav Olesz on waivers.
Chicago garnered vengeance for a rout at the United Center with a 5-1 spanking of Johnny Canuck at Rogers Arena. Even following such a big win, at least one member of the 'Hawks had to be eying the team box. He's probably wondering if it might be his regular hangout in the coming weeks.
I think that player is Bryan Bickell.
Ben Smith was scratched in Rockford last night, which gives the impression that he could be jetting his way to Calgary to meet up with the Blackhawks as we speak. Smith has been playing well in Rockford and everything seems to be pointing to the 'Hawks calling him up as opposed to leaving the roster spot open.
The question is, where does he fit in the current lineup?
You have to think that if Smith or another player is recalled, he isn't just going to be a healthy scratch on a regular basis. It points to someone taking a seat upstairs.
Dave Bolland is back from a foot injury. Jamal Mayers has been a big part of the fourth line. Daniel Carcillo is playing good hockey and isn't currently suspended. Andrew Brunette isn't going anywhere. He's a big part of the power play.
To me, that leaves Bickell in the crosshairs.
Bickell is scoreless in his last seven games and was scratched last week against the Blues. After a solid start, he just hasn't been getting the job done lately. He slid down to the fourth line Wednesday night. Will that slide continue to the team box, or even down I-90?
Bickell has found himself in Joel Quenneville's doghouse before. He seems to be playing his way into a lengthy stay there. The big forward was surprisingly effective a season ago with 17 goals in his rookie campaign.
He had three goals in his first 11 games this season, then nothing since his patented wrist shot on Halloween against Nashville. Will Bickell get the chance to get his game back on track, or should he start getting comfy in street clothes at game time?