Ben Smith will be in the lineup for the Blackhawks tonight, when they take on the Buffalo Sabres. Is this the beginning of the end for Bryan Bickell? It's probably too early to say, but this benching is certainly not a good sign for the struggling winger.
In his last 29 games, Bickell has 4 points. That's uh...that's not good.
He will likely get a few more chances to turn it around, but as soon as Patrick Sharp returns from injury, who goes? Jimmy Hayes? Andrew Shaw? Both of those guys have done more in their brief call ups than Bickell has done all season. And what if the Hawks make a trade? Who sits then? The answer keeps going back to Bickell.
John Scott, Bickell's roommate on the road, told me Monday night that Bickell is really frustrated with his lack of production, and is putting too much pressure on himself. Every game that goes by, the less confidence he has. It's eating him up, and he can't get out of his own head.
Perhaps a change of scenery is best for Bickell. For his sake, I hope that change is in another NHL city, and not Rockford.