This is going to be a new regular post after each game where I pick my 4th star of the game. The Hawks award 3 stars during the game recognizing them for the performance on the ice and score sheet. I wanted to take this one step further and recognize a player that may not of hit the score sheet but helped contribute to the game in meaningful places and making strong plays.
1st Star- Corey Crawford 29 saves .935 sv%
2nd Star- Brandon Saad 1 goal
3rd Star- Marcus Kruger
Last night was my first game at the UC this year and I didn't realize how much I missed watching the games live until walking into the Madhouse and getting goosebumps. Anyways to the point, the UC was rocking to open the game but like expected it seemed to settle down about 7 minutes into the game and the Hawks seemed to fall into a lull. The first period was scoreless and it looked like the Hawks would need a spark to get going.
Ryan Getzlaf opened the scoring in the second on a power play goal just 3:33 into the second. And here is where my 4th star contributed the most.
Bryan Bickell has been quietly having a great season in my opinion and most likely in Coach Q's as well, because Bickell got some power play time last night. He seems to be using his size more and getting into the dirty areas. He had a couple nice hits but 10 minutes into the second Bickell laid out Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf with a very strong, legal hit which Brad Staubitz took exception to, probably similar reasons as Keith standing up for Mayers. Staubitz got the extra instigator and while Bickell didn't land a punch in the fight he won the battle. He put the Hawks on the power play which lead to Nick Leddy tying the game at 1. Brandon Saad would score just over 30 second later on probably one of the strangest goals I have ever seen. (I'm still not sure the puck crossed the line but I'm not going to argue that call)
But Bickell deserves recognition because for so long many of us have been clamoring for a big body to get in front net to screen the goalie and open up space for guys like Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp to operate. Watching Bickell this season, I see no reason why he can't be this person. I think it is going to be tough to displace Saad on the first line and you certainly aren't going to drop Kane or Sharp to the third line but Bickell can provide something Saad can't on the first line and something that has been forced on Toews instead.
Bickell on the top line would allow for Toews and Hossa to be the puck movers that they are while allowing Bickell to use his size in front of the net, and his hands aren't half bad either. It's a great problem for the team to have right now, too many guys that could or are playing at top line level. I hope that Bickell gets some more PP minutes and he can improve his game even more.