Threero Of The Week: Why Bingo Will Always Be Bickell’s Name-Oh

by J.R.

zathockeyThis is Zoë. Zoë is my daughter. She was born midway through the first period of what is probably the No. 1 game in Nashville Predators history — the Game 5 victory over Detroit in the first round of 2012 playoffs.

Things haven’t gone so well for the Predators since then — Radulov left, Suter left, Weber tried to leave, the team had an abysmal season, Brandon Yip got power play minutes — but I don’t think her mom and I are going to be all Buffalo ’66 with Zoë.

Zoë likes hockey — and not just Predators hockey (though that’s her favorite; the only thing she says more than “Gnash” is “Mama,” “Dada” and “Dog,” and she’s never even met David Backes). She had the good sense to make it to the world just in time to see Nick Lidstrom play, for example. And though she almost always sleeps through the night, she woke up, with no explanation, five minutes before the end of the lockout was announced, as if to say “Daddy, check Twitter.”

zandj Zoë likes going to games, too. Like her dad, she likes to get there early to watch warm ups and have a drink. Of the 24 home games this year, Zoë probably made it to 18 or 20. Never fussed or whined. Sometimes she slept. Sometimes she was smart enough to doze out for the whole game. She’d watch the game, she’d clap when other people clapped. She did her version of Fang Fingers. A real trooper.

She liked watching games on TV, too. There’s a lot of color and movement at hockey games. And there’s fun noises. It’s pretty compelling stuff for an infant, even if the Wild are playing.

So Zoë watched a lot of the playoffs with me this year, which brings us to Bryan Bickell, finally.

Bickell’s the kind of player that’s easy to like if you’re the kind of person who isn’t particularly inclined to like star players. He does exciting things. He’s fast. He can score a handful of goals. Most people sort of suspected that he’d be taking a walk from the Blackhawks once the playoff run was over, picking up a good boost in minutes with a team with less first-line firepower and getting a healthy, though maybe not ridiculous, raise in the process.

And then the playoffs happened. Bickell starting scoring apace. There’s always one guy — the guy who comes alive in the spring, scores playoff goals in bunches. Old-school guys would say someone got hot. Fancystats gang would attribute a run to either a previously sub-par PDO or a guy getting the advantage of percentages. Whatever it was, Bickell was doing it. And while all playoff goals are timely, Bickell’s seemed especially so.

Game One, Round One, on April 30, Bryan Bickell did this against Minnesota:

And I yelled “Bingo!”

In our house, though, this is Bingo:

zwithbingo

It was a birthday present for Zoë. One of his many features is that when you press his nose, he sings the song “Bingo.” Hence the name.

Anyway, the “Bingo” nickname for Mr Bickell stuck. I used it on this here blog and on the Twitter machine. It’s a great nickname for him — it’s alliterative and fun to yell and it makes sense because his goals are often bingo-ey. Also he looks like this:

Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Boston Bruins At TD Garden

So whenever Bickell scored, I’d yell “Bingo!”

And Zoë would hit the nose on that silly toy dog and laugh and laugh.

Nine times he scored. Nine times I yelled “Bingo.” And nine times Zoë hit the dog’s nose and laughed.

I hope next year Bickell is in Conference III. Even more, I hope next year Zoë gets to see her team win a few more. And I hope she picks a favorite player on her team (she can almost say “Pekka”). And I hope we can laugh and sing and have fun with the Predators and with whoever that favorite player ends up being.

But for one little run in the summer of 2013, her favorite player was the guy that made her dad yell “Bingo!”. Her dad’s favorite player was the guy that made his little girl laugh.

Bickell may never know his nickname was “Bingo.” He’ll certainly never know that his goals weren’t celebrated with “Chelsea Dagger” in my house, but with a singysongy version of an old children’s tune and with a laughing little girl.

But I sure as hell won’t ever forget. And I won’t ever stop calling him “Bingo.”

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