2010 Stanley Cup finals: Dave Bolland's 'checking line' makes a huge impact for Chicago

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bollandshg.jpgThe one thing that separates the Chicago Blackhawks from the rest of the league – aside from that horrible, horrible, horrible “Chelsea Dagger” goal song – is their slap-you-in-the-face depth. Say what you will about Brian Campbell, you’re doing pretty well when he’s (maybe) your third best blueliner. After you get past the Toews and Kanes, there’s the Hossas, Byfugliens and Sharps.

But in Game 1, the team went even deeper down their depth chart to their so-called “checking line” to blow through the Flyers defense in a sloppy but entertaining affair. NHL.com spotlights that dominant Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd/Tomas Kopecky combo.

“You can call them a checking line,” Hawks center Patrick Sharp said, “but they’ve all got the ability to put the puck in the net, and that’s what makes them so dangerous.”

Their skill makes them different. It also makes them effective.

The standout player is Dave Bolland – and not just because he’s been scoring shorthanded goals like hot cakes lately. I have to admit, when the Blackhawks signed Bolland last summer, I thought it was yet another example of the team’s inability to part with a quality (but replaceable) player amid growing salary cap worries. Instead, he’s been one of the team’s most indispensable players, profoundly frustrating the likes of Joe Thornton and Daniel Sedin like few before him with a combination of pest-like behavior and lock-on defense. Mark Spector had a great column on Bolland at Sportsnet.ca.

He not only neutralized Flyers No. 1 centre Mike Richards in Game 1, but Bolland’s shorthanded breakaway goal was part of a two-point, plus-3 night. Richards, in 22:44 of ice time, had no points, just three shots on goal, and was minus-2.

“I just play tough on him. Everyone hates when … you’re always around them, always in their skates, hitting their sticks, doing little things,” Boland said. “A lot of guys hate it. Everyone hates it, really.”

Let’s face it: Everyone hates HIM, really.

If your job is to shut down the opposing team’s star players, it’s usually a good sign if they hate you. That means you are impeding – perhaps closing down – their game and possibly getting in their head. Frustration leads to penalties, turnovers and maybe even glory.

The checkers might not get many Conn Smythe votes, but the Blackhawks aren’t winning the Cup on the strength of Jonathan Toews and other stars alone. Their supporting role players have made a big impact in every series … even when they’re not enraging Swedish ginger twins.

Blackhawks PK has another brutal night in loss to Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the San Jose Sharks on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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There will be no 0-8 start in Columbus this season.

The Blue Jackets were 3-2 winners against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night to earn their first win of the season thanks to goals from Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and William Karlsson. The first two of those goals came on the power play as the Blue Jackets were the latest team to feast on Chicago’s dismal penalty killing unit this season. Those two power play goals came on Columbus’ only two power play opportunities of the night.

Right now everybody is scoring against the Blackhawks on the power play.

With the two more goals against on Friday, Chicago’s penalty kill has already given up 11 goals through the first five games of the season, becoming just the 18th team in the past 30 years to do that.

Their early season penalty kill success rate has been so bad that as Daily Herald beat writer John Dietz pointed out on Friday that even if they successfully kill off their next 20 shorthanded opportunities their PK would still only be at 71.8 on the season. The worst penalty kill in the NHL a season ago was 75.5 percent. In other words: That is not ideal.

After falling behind 3-1, the Blackhawks attempted to rally thanks to a goal from Richard Panik (already his fifth of the season) to cut the deficit from one. They pretty much took over the game in the third period and threw everything they could at the Blue Jackets’ net, but Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and holding down the fort and helping the Jackets get their first win of the season.

It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets in some ways though as they lost defenseman Ryan Murray to an upper body injury in the first period. Injuries have been a problem for him throughout his young career.

As for the Blackhawks, the loss drops them to 2-3-0 on the young season. There are a lot of new faces on this year’s team, and a lot of young players filling out the bottom half of the roster. Early on it has been a struggle for pretty much everybody.

Blue Jackets’ Murray leaves game with upper body injury

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 4:  Ryan Murray #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the New York Rangers on April 4, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had to leave his team’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night with an upper body injury, the team announced.

He will not return to the game.

Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, seemed to be injured when his arm was pinned against the boards when trying to finish a check on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net.

Murray played only 4:38 on Friday night before exiting the game.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Murray played in 81 games for the Blue Jackets a year ago, scoring four goals to go with 21 assists.

He had played in one of the Blue Jackets’ two games this season entering Friday and did not record a point.

Former first round pick Zach Boychuk signs in KHL

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Zach Boychuk #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes heads back for the puck during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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After spending the past eight years moving around the NHL, Zach Boychuk is moving overseas.

On Friday it was announced that the 27-year-old forward has signed a contract with HC Sibir of the KHL.

Boychuk was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators in his career.

He did not play in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, spending the year split between the Charlotte Checkers and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

In 127 NHL games he has scored 12 goals and added 18 assists.

Boychuk was in camp in September with the Arizona Coyotes on a tryout contract but did not make the team.

Flyers’ Dale Weise suspended three games

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Dale Weise #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.

The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Weise was not penalized for the hit.

The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.

Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.

The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.

Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.

He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.