Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
Posted 6:18 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
Dave Bollands checking ability hasnt been a problem all season. But for the Chicago Blackhawks center, the offense just wasnt there during the early part of the season.
Lately, however, Bollands scoring as often as those opposing him are not.
Bolland, who scored a power-play goal against the Red Wings on Saturday, has 10 this season and is just nine shy of the career high he set in 2008-09. Prior to the Philadelphia game, Bolland was also on a five-game point streak in which hes tallied five goals and three assists.
When you get a guy whos in a checking role scoring goals, it takes pressure off us, Patrick Kane said. Some of us would like to play a little bit better offensively and start producing some numbers. As far as Bolley, hes been playing great lately.
After early struggles, Bolland is putting together a complete game again. So what gives?
I dont know what it is, if its my pre-game nap or something Im doing. Whatever it is Im going to keep on doing it, Bolland said. I came out slow but second half is going to be better.
Forward Patrick Sharp said Bolland does a lot of things that people dont notice. He gets in the stars faces and shuts them down. But when he can put up points like he has lately its a huge boost to our team.
Bollands ability to shut others down has been pretty consistent this season. But the scoring touch? It just wasnt there early. It probably didnt help that the Blackhawks, struggling with injuries and trying to find chemistry with so many new players, switched forward lines often. But Bolland has found consistency and a comfort level with Bryan Bickell and Fernando Pisani.
The chemistrys cooking, Bolland said. It just took a little bit of time. Sometimes when you start mixing guys around it gets difficult, going from one (line) to the other. When you get that chemistry, you get to know where guys are on the ice. Its going well.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Bollands skating has him back in the scoring business.
Hes got more speed in his game, and when he does he seems to have the puck more, Quenneville said. When you add quickness to your game, you can be more comfortable with the puck. His games definitely been elevated the last little while.
Captain Jonathan Toews did not practice on Monday, but Quenneville said he will play Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild. Toews said he suffered a lower body injury in a collision against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday but that it was not serious. He played nearly 20 minutes against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Kane, who will be alternate captain for Nicklas Lidstroms All-Star team, said hes only heard from one player about his possible selection: Just Buff (Dustin Byfuglien). He was saying I better pick him. It would be fun to play with him again.
Defenseman Nick Leddy will face the team that drafted him on Tuesday night. The 19-year-old was the Wilds 16th overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft before they traded him to the Blackhawks last February.
Corey Crawford will start against the Wild on Tuesday night.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.