Bickell's big hit on Chara serves notice
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Bryan Bickell's big hit on Boston Bruins' monster defenseman Zdeno Chara early in Game 4 was part of the Hawks' strategy to engage Chara and make him skate and it worked to perfection on Wednesday.
It was the hit heard around the hockey world.
OK, maybe that's overdoing it a little, but Bryan Bickell's smackdown of Boston's monster blueliner Zdeno Chara early in Game 4 sure made people sit up and take notice.
Particularly those on the Blackhawks' bench Wednesday night at TD Garden.
"He doesn't like getting hit," Bickell said of the 6-foot-9, 260-pound defenseman. "Not a lot of guys attempt it, but to get a hit on him and to see him fall down, it's rare, but I just needed to keep it going."
His teammates, including linemate Patrick Kane, like the fact that after receiving so much punishment from Chara already in this series, it was time for a little payback.
"He's a big body, and not really a guy that many players on our team can probably engage physically, but Bickell is one of them," Kane said. "I think any time you can get a chance to lay the body on him, it's big for the team and can spark us and get us going."
Engaging Chara, making him skate, and just plain not being intimidated by the guy was part of the Blackhawks strategy heading into Game 4, and it worked to perfection.
Chara was on the ice for 5 of the Hawks' 6 goals in their series-tying OT thriller.
"That's one of the main goals -- to get him to move his feet and try to sustain that pressure," Brandon Saad said. "He's a great defenseman, but to keep that pressure and have the success that we did, that's always a positive thing."
And so is the feeling of taking on and slaying the giant -- for one night at least.
"He does a lot of good things, and he uses his size and his reach to his advantage, and I think maybe at times in the first couple games we were giving him a little bit too much respect by trying to keep the puck away from him," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
"He's not a guy that we should be afraid of. We should go at him, protect the puck from him, make plays around him and through him. We should use our speed."
The night wasn't a complete bust for Chara, however, who finished with a pair of assists and logged nearly 30 minutes of ice time.
"I think he was OK," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "There's no doubt they went after him and he was OK because our whole team was OK.
"I don't think anybody on our team can stand up today and say I thought I had a great game, and that's why we're sitting here today tied 2-all."
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