How do the Blackhawks spell relief? Bolland

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How do the Blackhawks spell relief? Bolland

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
Posted 6:18 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

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.

Toews playing

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.

Briefly

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.

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Tanner Kero on a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 campaign, the team announced Thursday.

Kero, 24, has five goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks this season, along with six goals and nine assists in 55 games across two seasons.

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He has become a reliable, versatile forward on the bottom six for Joel Quenneville and has also played a role in the team's penalty-kill unit that has been terrific in March after a rough start to the year.

Kero signed a two-year deal that carries a $667,500 cap hit with the Blackhawks on April 2, 2015, as an undrafted free agent.

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns was like the rest of the Dallas Stars entering this season: he was optimistic, for his own game but also for the Stars, the team coming off a solid postseason and bringing a strong lineup back.

The season has been nothing but a disappointment, however, for the Stars, for a lot of their players and definitely for Johns, who has been in and out of the lineup.

“We have a pretty young team and most of these guys have played on teams that have always had the chance to win the championship of whatever league,” Johns said. “It’s tough for a lot of us right now. I’ve never been on a team that’s missed the playoffs. You have to stick together and get through it together and win as many games as you can. But it’s tough. It sucks.”

Johns will be a healthy scratch on Thursday when the Stars face the Blackhawks. The Stars are coming off a 1-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks and, like most coaches, Lindy Ruff is hesitant to change a lineup after a victory. Johns has played in 55 games this season. For the 24-year-old defenseman who was considered a great present-and-future piece of the deal that sent he and Patrick Sharp from the Blackhawks to the Stars in the summer of 2015, it’s been frustrating.

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“It’s all about confidence at this point and trying to find it,” Johns said. “It’s easy to lose your confidence and hard to get it back. It’s just finding it and sticking with it, blocking negative plays out and not letting it affect you, but it’s tough.”

It would be easy to think forward to next season. The Stars are all but eliminated from this postseason and, with some good health, perhaps they could get back to where they were in the 2015-16 season. Johns, too. Instead, he’ll focus on trying to make the final games of this season as positive as possible.

“You can’t look too far ahead into the future. Right now we have 10 games left and we just have to focus on those 10 games because nobody knows what’s going to happen in the summer,” Johns said. “It’s more about focusing this year on a positive note and then whatever happens, happens.”