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Bickell: Amanda just gets me

by Bryan Bickell

Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has become a prominent figure during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, taking on a key offensive role for a team seeking to win its second championship in four seasons.

Bickell, 27, scored eight goals over the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- one fewer than he had in 48 regular season games. In the Western Conference Final, Bickell scored goals in three consecutive games, then added a pair of assists in the clinching Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Kings. He's been held off the scoresheet through two games in the Stanley Cup Final.

Bickell has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on throughout the Cup Final.

In his third entry, Bickell writes about the morning after losing Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, how his fiancée, Amanda, talks hockey with him, and what he may do to change his luck for Game 3 on Monday:

BOSTON -- It was an unintentional early morning for me Sunday, but looking back on it I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that I couldn't sleep in even though I wanted to. My mind was on the game from Saturday night, on the 2-1 overtime loss and what went wrong after we played so well in the first period. It forced me to lose a bit of sleep, sleep that I probably could have used.

So instead of sleeping in I watched some television and had a really nice breakfast with my fiancée, Amanda. I walked the dogs -- pretty basic stuff, but I actually went back for a nap later in the morning because I woke up so early. At least I could catch up a little on the sleep I do need.

The good thing about Amanda is she knows I'm concentrating more on hockey, way more on hockey than the planning for our Aug. 3 wedding. She gets it and she is interesting in talking about hockey with me when I want to talk about it.

I wanted to talk about it Sunday morning, so we did. She's great in understanding when I have good games and when I have bad games. We can talk it over and she always gives me positive feedback. Her goal is to keep my spirits up regardless of what happens, to keep me focused going into the next game. She does a great job in that regard. This is a special time in my career and she keeps me focused on that.

This morning we were talking about not getting too down after Game 2. She was saying that I know I'm going to have good shifts and bad shifts, but I need to stay positive and I need to fight through everything. She told me that there are going to be shifts in a game that I don't like and some I can feed off of, but either way my demeanor and my attitude can't change.

It was nice to hear that from her because I felt my play in Game 2 was below average. It was just one of those games where we were really into it in the first period and come the next two periods, it's a team game and I don't think we had our spunk like we had in the first period. We let that get away from us. We got away from what we were doing so well and that feeds into how you play and feel about your play as well.

If you see your team is playing really well it gets you going; if you see your team is struggling then you want to step up, but Saturday night there were times it was good for me and other times it was just bad. It's something I have to get over.

I'm not sure if it will work, but I'm going to try for the superstitious solution to get back on track in Game 3 with my meal Sunday night. I've been eating sushi before every game for a little while now and it was working, but lately I have hit a bit of a slump so it's time to switch things up. I'll eat the team meal and probably go with some chicken, rice, vegetables, salad and maybe some ice cream.

Hey, that could be the new thing for me. It will be if I have a good game Monday.

The sushi thing worked and I may wind up going back to it if the scoring slump continues, but for now I think I need a change. It's superstitions. Athletes have them and I'm no different.

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