Bollig has a shot to stick with Blackhawks
April, 16, 2012
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
Cal Sports Media/AP ImagesJamal Meyers said he's been telling Brandon Bollig to shoot more often.CHICAGO -- He got lost in the shuffle of the Game 2 heroics of Bryan Bickell and the controversial hit on Mike Smith by Andrew Shaw, but Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig made some history of his own on Saturday. He scored his first career NHL goal while earning his first career point as he helped the Hawk to a dramatic 3-2 overtime win.
"It was a great feeling," Bollig said on Monday after practice. "It didn't happen in the regular season, and the fact that it did happen in playoffs, at the time that it did, to tie the game up is an amazing feeling."
The Hawks were trailing 2-1 nearing the midway mark of the second period when Bollig received a pass from Nick Leddy and fired a shot by Smith as he entered the offensive zone.
"I kind of always had a decent shot," Bollig stated. "Just came down the wing there and threw it on net."
Bollig went undrafted and is an older rookie at 25, but when John Scott was traded on deadline day, it opened up a spot for the 6-2, 223 lb. forward. He took advantage of his chance -- at least as a tough guy -- fighting eight times in his first 18 career games. But he didn't earn a point -- until Game No. 20.
"I've been telling him to shoot the puck since he got here," linemate Jamal Mayers said. "He's probably got one of the hardest shots on the team for sure ... I can see the confidence in him (grow) even today (Monday). That's only going to help his development."
His shot is actually well known within the Hawks organization, and considering his brawn he might be able to surprise some people with it. It's not unlike the development of the night's other hero -- Bickell. He scored 17 goals last year with a surprisingly wicked shot.
"Comparable shots," coach Joel Quenneville said of Bickell and Bollig. "They're heavier than they first look. I think they have a little bit of placement behind them as well."
Forget about scoring, or even fighting, Bollig is just happy to be a part of playoff hockey. His first two career postseason games have gone to overtime.
"Being a part of it I almost had the doc check my heart rate because it was so high," Bollig joked.
Bollig understands if he's going to stick in the NHL he can't be one dimensional.
"What got me here was that physical side, that enforcer type role," he said. "What's going to make me stick is bringing more to the game than just that. That's what I'm trying to prove."
He's off to a pretty good start, at least in his postseason career. Rookies can never be too sure of their place in the lineup, and if the Hawks needed more scoring Bollig would have been a candidate to be replaced. Not anymore, or at least any time soon. One goal will do that.
"It was great to see all the activity going on, on my phone with the people that were happy for me," Bollig said of his weekend after scoring.
And what about his first love, dropping the gloves? Has he come close through the first two games?
"If I was coming close enough I would have done it," he responded.
There's always Game 3 on Tuesday.