Thursday, May 9, 2013
Hawks brace for desperation; Bolland out
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are trying not to look ahead. A win on Thursday night over the Minnesota Wild vaults the Hawks into Round 2 of the postseason and a possible matchup with the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks wrapped up their opening series against the Vancouver Canucks in four games and are getting rest.
"We haven't been talking about it at all," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We're just focused on tonight and getting a win."
They're assuming Minnesota will try to replicate Game 3 which they won in overtime and outplayed the Hawks most of the game.
"This will be the hardest game of the series," forward Bryan Bickell said. "They have nothing to lose. They'll probably come out like in Game 3, all fired up. Again, they have nothing to lose."
Bolland out: If there is any sign in the depth of the 2013 Blackhawks it's in the fact that annual playoff performer Dave Bolland hasn't played a minute in the series, and they are on the verge of taking out the Wild in Round 1.
He won't play in Game 5 Thursday night as he rehabs from a leg injury suffered near the end of the regular season.
Ending the series in five games sets up Bolland for a second-round debut. But if the Hawks were down 3-1 instead of leading in the series, it might have forced Bolland back to the ice sooner.
"It's tough to say," Bolland said after Thursday's morning practice. "It's a 50/50 chance. ... If it was do or die. ... It's playoff hockey. You have to be desperate."
That's the situation Bolland faced two years ago when the Hawks got down 3-0 to the Canucks. Bolland was recovering from a concussion and came back early helping the Hawks to force a Game 7 before they went down to defeat in overtime.
"We missed him in that series and you could feel his contribution when he returned," coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday. "This year he's been out a little bit too so we've had a chance to find other options including one at the end when we moved (Michael) Handzus up in that situation (and that) was a nice find for us. Didn't anticipate that but sometimes that versatility in the lineup is something you have to find out sometimes."
Quenneville said there are "options" for the lineup when Bolland returns and indicated it's a "healthy" decision determining where he fits back in.
Goalie Ray Emery won't play in Game 5 either but should be ready for Round 2 as well.