Dave Bolland

Blackhawks get good news as Dave Bolland skates, “progressing at a different pace”

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.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…