Hawks' big night provides even more reward for Bollig

Hawks' big night provides even more reward for Bollig
October 1, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

Just two minutes into the Blackhawks' home-opener, Brandon Bollig nearly jumped out of his skin.

"I kind of blacked out a little bit," he joked following his team's 6-4 victory.

"Chelsea Dagger" sounded off, and Bollig went flying into the boards as he celebrated his first career regular-season goal to kick off the Blackhawks' season against the Washington Capitals.

"It's nice to already surpass my offensive output from the last couple seasons," he said. "It's nice to get that first one out of the way and start the season off well."

[MORE: Blackhawks gut out thrilling victory in season opener]

The season began on a high note before the puck even dropped on Tuesday night as the Blackhawks conducted their banner-raising ceremony in front of more than 22,000 fans. 

Players who weren't with the Blackhawks for their 2010 victory didn't know what to expect from the pregame ceremony, but what they saw gave them the energy they needed to finish the first game of the season with two points under their team's belt.

"I didn't know what to expect," Bollig said. "We kind of hear stuff, but they didn't tell us too much so it would be a surprise and exciting for us. It definitely surpassed my expectations. It was amazing seeing the support from our crowd and seeing how happy they were for us. It was tough to have all those emotions and then shut them off right when the first period started."

Bollig knew how to transition those emotions when he skated onto the ice, but perhaps it was that energy and the support from his teammates that gave him the boost he needed.

Bryan Bickell stood at his stall after Saturday's game, grinning from ear-to-ear when he was asked about Bollig's goal.

"We called it," Bickell said. "I heard (Patrick Sharp) say it — who he thought would have the first goal. We usually go down the list ... (Patrick Kane) had it last year. Sharpie said he was gonna call Bollig for his first pro goal in the National (Hockey) League in the regular season. It was definitely special for him."

[WATCH: Blackhawks raise the banner]

It was a big night overall for the Blackhawks, and it was one Bollig will never forget. He's off to a fast start — and is seeing time on the power play, as well — following a strong training camp and preseason, and on Saturday his family and friends were in town to see that first goal go in.

Coach Joel Quenneville has spoken highly of Bollig since the Blackhawks took the ice at Notre Dame just weeks ago. He continued that praise after Tuesday's game, offering high hopes for the 26-year-old forward.

"We like how he plays," Quenneville said. "The production that we saw in the preseason continued off the bat. His production's definitely going to be at a different level than we saw last year."