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 Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Tracey Myers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the Blackhawks' blockbuster deals involving Niklas Hjalmarsson being dealt to Arizona and re-acquiring Brandon Saad from Columbus in exchange for Artemi Panarin.

They also discuss what it means for the team going forward, and whether it's a precursor to bigger deals to come.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below.

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

* “Don’t look to the past anymore. It’s great to think you can recapture the magic with former players but years go by and times change.”

The sentences you see above were written by yours truly after the Blackhawks were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round in April. And for the most part, I stand by the message. The Blackhawks kept going back to their alumni well for solutions but, for the most part, it wasn’t working. But there’s always an exception to the rule, always one asterisk that can be applied in every situation (as we’ve done here).

In this case, that exception is Brandon Saad.

This isn’t someone who played with the Blackhawks five or more years ago. This isn’t a player who’s in his 30s. This isn’t a player who’s at the end of his career. This is a player in his prime, a 24-year-old who has a whole lot of game remaining and a whole lot of familiarity with this group, especially captain Jonathan Toews.

By the way, anyone else struck by the irony that the same Saad deal that the Blackhawks couldn’t afford two years ago is now one that fits perfectly, and will be really beneficial in two seasons when they don’t have to worry about trying to re-sign Artemi Panarin, who will be an unrestricted free agent?

Anyway, back to revisiting the past. General manager Stan Bowman admitted that he was hoping to bring Saad back into the fold at some point, although talks for this particular deal didn’t heat up until the past few days.

“Certainly it was a tough move a couple of years ago to have to make that trade [of Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015]," Bowman said. “Today my conversation had a much different tone. Brandon’s coming back and that chemistry is there right away and intensity and the way he plays. His all-around game is second to none.”

Saad said he wondered if he’d end up with the Blackhawks again at some point in his career.

“The day I was traded I talked with Stan and you part ways, but it’s a small league and there are always opportunities. It was definitely a thought in my mind possibly ending up in Chicago,” he said. “I didn’t think it’d happen this soon but that’s just the way it happened. It’s exciting to be back somewhere I’m comfortable, somewhere I know and an organization that’s had success.”

Yes, the Blackhawks went back to their alumni well. But instead of getting an aging veteran they’ve reacquired a kid in his prime. Every situation can come with an asterisk. This is one exception that will turn out well for the Blackhawks.