Soon, he shall return. Dave Bolland, "The Rat," the former Chicago Blackhawks center who made his name with checking top scorers as well as irritating them to no end. As part of two Stanley Cup teams, Bolland was part of the Blackhawks’ core, that sandpapery, pain-in-the-butt that the team embraced.
So, figure he’ll be turning the tables on his old teammates and trying to get under the Blackhawks’ skin?
“Nope, not at all,” Patrick Sharp said. “His tricks aren’t going to work against us. We’ve seen them far too many times.”
Jonathan Toews agreed.
“They don’t call him 'The Rat' for nothing,” he said. “But I know all his tricks, too.”
All kidding aside, but there’s probably a bit of Bolland that will try to antagonize the Blackhawks when his current team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, come to the United Center tomorrow night. It’s what he does: aggravate, instigate, irritate. So while the Blackhawks doubt Bolland will do anything to unnerve them, they’ll be sure to stay out of the, um, Rat trap.
“He’s going to do what he has to do. That’s his job. That’s what makes him such a great player in this league,” said Andrew Shaw, who was a linemate of Bolland’s many times. “He’s great offensively and defensively, and we have to counter that and be physical on him.”
Bolland is off to a very nice start with the Leafs, as he’s posted three goals and three assists in his first eight games. He couldn’t have ended his final game with the Blackhawks any better, scoring that game-winning goal to secure the team’s second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Like several players after the 2010 Cup final, Bolland was a casualty of the salary cap, traded to the Leafs on June 30 for draft picks. Bolland was a fan favorite here, and the Blackhawks anticipate he’ll get a warm reception tomorrow night. The Blackhawks will do the same – off the ice.
“He’s one of those guys you sat next to in the room and it definitely feels like you’re missing something there when he was around for five or six years and all of a sudden he’s on a different team,” Toews said. “To win two Cups with him, I want to see him do well. We’ll always keep in touch with him, and you look forward to playing against him, too.”
It’s going to be strange seeing Bolland in a different uniform, for fans and the Blackhawks alike. The pleasantries will end as soon as the game begins. Still, the Blackhawks doubt Bolland will extol his rat-like behavior on his old teammates.
“I don’t think he’ll be like he’s playing Vancouver. He’s just going to play hockey. I don’t think he has any bones to pick against any of the team,” Bryan Bickell said. “It’s going to be a special game for him, being (against) the team that drafted him, that he won two Cups with. There are a lot of friendships between he and the team.”