The Chicago Blackhawks got some great news this morning as they were preparing for their huge game against the Red Wings in Detroit today. While the Hawks were lacing ‘em up for their must-win game in Motown, Dave Bolland skated for the first time since March 9th back in Chicago. Forget games or practice, the Hawks’ center hasn’t even skated in the month since he suffered a concussion in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.
The progress surrounding the talented 2-ways center couldn’t come at a better time. If Chicago is able to sneak into the playoffs (still a rather large “if”), there’s no doubt they’d need his services if they want to compete against a team like the Canucks or Sharks. Concussions are always tough injuries to predict, but getting out on the ice is the first sign that a player is recovering. Apparently, his recovery has taken great strides over the last few days. From our friends over at CSN Chicago:
“Dave Bolland, who’s been out with a concussion, has “progressed at a different pace,” and could be skating today back in Chicago, coach Joel Quenneville said this morning. It’s welcome news for the Blackhawks, who have missed their gritty center since he was injured March 9 against Tampa Bay.
“It’s close. In fact, he could be on the ice today,” Quenneville said. “But he’s really progressed in the last couple of days.”
Again, the news couldn’t come at a better time for the Blackhawks and their fans. Bolland is one of those players a coach loves to have on his bench. Joel Quenneville likes to put Bolland against the opponent’s best lines—so whether they’re facing the Sedins in Vancouver or a Thornton/Heatley/Marleau line in San Jose, the Blackhawks take on a completely different look when Bolland is available to the team. As it stands now, the best two-way forward the Hawks have on their team is Jonathan Toews. Clearly, they’d rather put Toews and Patrick Kane on the ice in offensive situations without the responsibility of stopping the opponent’s best players, as well.
Around the organization, Dave Bolland was one of the most important players during last season’s Stanley Cup run. He was so important that guys like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, and Kris Versteeg were traded away because the team had already committed almost $17 million on a 5-year deal to him. He proved his worth in last year’s playoffs when he had 8 goals (16 points) in 22 playoff games against the opposition’s best players.
If Chicago can sneak back into the playoffs and Bolland can get back sooner rather than later, he’ll get a chance for an encore playoff performance.