Brandon Bollig’s shot found the back of the net, a little preseason scoring gift as the Blackhawks brought training camp back to Chicago.
So that’s one or two goals in the preseason, one in the postseason. Can that elusive regular-season goal be far behind?
“Hopefully that comes here soon,” Bollig said with a grin. “I’m not necessarily here to do that, but it’s an added bonus if you score goals here and there.”
No, Bollig’s main focus certainly isn’t about scoring. It’s about being physical and, if need be, putting up the dukes. But as the game evolves, so does the role of the NHL tough guy. That player can’t be one-dimensional anymore, can’t make his entire game about fighting. So if Bollig can add to the repertoire, and add playing minutes in the process, he’ll be very happy.
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“It’s no secret the game is changing; you definitely have to be able to play and get around the ice and bang bodies,” said Bollig, who had a goal in Team White’s victory over Team Red as part of the Blackhawks’ training camp festival on Monday night. “I don’t think fighting will ever go away from the game completely. But there are other parts of the game I want to improve, and those things will expand my role and ice time. I’m glad to do the fighting part of it, but I’m happy to do everything else to increase my ice time.”
To that end, Bollig spent a good deal of his summer here in Chicago, working with Blackhawks strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman. Bollig enjoyed his brief off time, especially that day with the Stanley Cup in his hometown of St. Charles, Mo., just outside of St. Louis. But he also got back into shape as quickly as he could.
The physical aspect is there. But Bollig does have a good shot. Coach Joel Quenneville said he has no problem seeing it more.
“Last year, he didn’t have the production that reflected his quality of play, consistency of that line (with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik). A lot of times a majority of their shifts were in the offensive zone,” Quenneville said. “To get some production here in that (fourth-line) role is a bonus. But with his shot and his offensive recognition, he should be more productive than last year.”
Bollig wants to be an everyday player with this team. There’s plenty of depth, and there’s always someone pushing to take your spot. He’ll enjoy the competition and look to carve his niche – and, perhaps, even score a goal or two.
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“Obviously that’s the goal, to be in the lineup every night. Hopefully that’ll happen this year,” Bollig said. “But I can’t focus on (goal scoring) too much. I just have to do my thing, play my role and the goals will start coming and the minutes will increase. That’s the goal to start; hopefully it happens.”
Jonathan Toews skated prior to Monday night’s scrimmage. Quenneville said Toews “felt great, no aggravation” with that lower-body injury, but the Blackhawks captain will not play tomorrow night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen will center Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane against the Red Wings on Tuesday night.