Chicago Blackhawks: Dave Bolland
The Chicago Blackhawks played in some unforgettable games during 2013. There's still three to go, but here’s a look at the 10 best so far:
No. 10 -- Blackhawks 6, Senators 5, Oct. 29: Nine of the Blackhawks’ top games of 2013 occurred last season, mostly due to the context of the Blackhawks’ playoff run and their points streak. This recent game made the list because it had a bit of everything. The Blackhawks went down 4-2, and Nikolai Khabibulin was relieved by Corey Crawford in the second period. Crawford stopped 14 of 15 shots over the remainder of the game. Jonathan Toews took care of the rest. He scored three consecutive goals and put the Blackhawks ahead 5-4. Toews also had an assist. Andrew Shaw scored two goals, and Marian Hossa tallied his 100th career Blackhawks goal.
No. 9 -- Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2, March 6: The Blackhawks turned to many different players to contribute during their 24-game points streak. This was Daniel Carcillo's day. Carcillo scored the game-winner with 49.3 seconds left in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche and had one of the season’s more memorable celebrations as he skidded on his knees. The Blackhawks would lose the next game and their record-setting streak ended.
The change in scenery has done wonders for Bolland. He’s quickly become an impact player for the Maple Leafs on both sides of the ice and has helped them to a 9-4-0 record. He has six goals and four assists in 13 games and has averaged 16:46 of ice time. He failed to produce a point in his Oct. 16 return to the United Center, but he’s since had three goals and one assist in the last four games. He also helped contain Sidney Crosby in the Maple Leafs’ recent 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Viktor Stalberg, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing
Stalberg was unhappy with his role with the Blackhawks by the end of last season. He was looking to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else. The Predators saw a lot of upside in Stalberg and signed him to a four-year, $12 million contract. It’s been downhill since then. Stalberg began the season injured. He entered the lineup in mid-October and has since struggled. He has zero points in six games and has been scratched the last two games.
Ray Emery's decision to leave the Hawks for a chance to start with the Flyers has backfired early, as he's struggled in his first couple of games.
Emery chose to leave the Blackhawks -- not because of money, but because he saw an opportunity to start for the Flyers. The Blackhawks are actually paying Nikolai Khabibulin more than what Emery received from the Flyers. Emery’s plan hasn’t worked out for him. He struggled in two early-season starts, allowing four goals in each game. Steve Mason was given an opportunity to start for the Flyers, and he’s running with it. He’s started the Flyers’ last five games and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of them. Emery was always a team player with the Blackhawks and appears to be saying the right things again in Philadelphia.
Michael Frolik, Winnipeg Jets, traded for draft picks
While the Blackhawks still search for someone to replace Frolik on the penalty kill, Frolik is looking for consistency with the Jets. Frolik began the season with a bang, as he scored two goals in the first game and had an assist in the second game. Since then, he’s had zero goals and three assists in the last 11 games. He’s averaged 14:07 of ice time, but he’s not often utilized on the penalty kill. He was second among forwards in short-handed ice time for the Blackhawks last season and is just averaging 52 seconds a game on the penalty kill this season. The Blackhawks will face Frolik for the first time this season on Saturday.
Daniel Carcillo, Los Angeles Kings, traded for conditional draft pick
Carcillo was in and out of the Blackhawks’ lineup throughout his stay in Chicago, and it was no surprise he was traded to the Kings. He’s had one goal and one assist and averaged 10:07 of ice time in nine games this season. He’s been in two fights and has 16 penalty minutes and 16 hits. It’s about what’s expected from him.
Carter Hutton, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing
Hutton wasn’t given much of a shot with the Blackhawks. He played just one game with them. He signed a one-year deal with the Predators in the offseason and has already played in four games this season, because Pekka Rinne has been out of the lineup. Hutton has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He struggled in the Predators’ last game and was pulled in the third period during a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Ryan Stanton, Vancouver Canucks, waiver claim
Stanton was put on waivers when the Blackhawks decided to keep Michael Kostka as the team’s eighth defensemen. The Canucks claimed Stanton and have put him to use. Stanton has averaged 14:10 of ice time and has had one goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games. He had signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in the offseason.
CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center on Saturday.
How it happened: The Blackhawks scored in just one period, but that was all they needed. They put away three pucks in the second, when they piled up 20 shots on goal. Forward Bryan Bickell opened the scoring with a goal at 5:32 of the period -- his first of the season. Blackhawks defenseman Mike Kostka notched the team’s second goal, which was the first of his NHL career. Finally, Brandon Pirri put the Blackhawks ahead 3-1 with a power-play goal.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 19 saves. The Blackhawks were 4-for-5 on the penalty kill and 1-for-3 on the power play. They have scored power-play goals in five games this season. Nazem Kadri scored the Maple Leafs’ goal.
What it means: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville rearranged his lines heading into Saturday’s game, and the Blackhawks found some success with the new order. They hadn’t scored more than two goals in regulation since Oct. 11. Yet, they likely won’t still be pleased with the production. The Blackhawks had 40 shots on goal and only the three goals to show for it. They also failed to score in the third period for the seventh consecutive game. The Blackhawks improved to 5-1-2, and the Maple Leafs fell to 6-3-0 on the season. Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland faced his former team for the first time since being traded to Toronto in July. He was drafted by the Blackhawks and helped them win two Stanley Cups. He was recognized with a video in the first period and received a standing ovation.
Stat of the game: Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger played a team-high 4:47 on the penalty kill.
Player of the game: Pirri continued to prove himself worthy of his recent NHL call-up. He had the primary assist on Kostka’s goal and delivered with his own goal. He has scored in each of the past two games.
What’s next: The Blackhawks hit the road for two consecutive games. They play the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
“That’s something we’ve kind of gotten used to over the last couple years when you lose some of our good friends on the team,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said recently. “It’s always sad to see someone go like that.”
Dave Bolland was one of the players the Blackhawks had to bid farewell to after last season. Bolland was dealt in July to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs to free up cap space. He had been with the Blackhawks organization since being drafted in 2004 and won two Stanley Cups with them. He was often seen as a vital role player, especially in the physical playoffs, and left his mark on Blackhawks history by scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal against the Boston Bruins last season.
On Saturday, Bolland will make his first return trip to the United Center as an opponent. He and his former Blackhawks teammates expect an emotional night.
“Going back to Chicago is always a big one, being with them for so long and being with them for two championships,” Bolland said on a video on the Maple Leafs’ website. “To go back there and to go back to the old stadium will be nice.
“It will be a bit of novelty to go up against [Jonathan] Toews and Kane and Duncs [Duncan Keith] and Sharpie [Patrick Sharp] and Seabs [Brent Seabrook,] some of the guys that I was really close with over there. To be with all those guys over eight years, it’ll be pretty funny lining against them and going into the corner with them.”
Sharp had similar feelings.
“It’s exciting to have him come back and play,” Sharp said. “It’s going to be a physical game with him. I know the Hawks crowd is going to give him a nice applause that he deserves. It’ll be exciting to see him in a different uniform.”
40. Kane and Toews extensions
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews aren't unrestricted free agents until after the 2014-15 season and can't negotiate contract extensions until after the 2013-14 season, but still expect this to be a storyline throughout this season. Those deals are Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman's priorities, and he's been planning for them for a long time. Everything Bowman has done -- the extensions he gave Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson, signing restricted free agents, etc. -- has been with Kane's and Toews' contracts in mind. The salary cap is expected to be raised in the future, which will help the Blackhawks. Kane and Toews have implied they'd like to remain in Chicago and may be willing to give the Blackhawks a hometown deal. To put both among the top-15 paid players in the NHL, the Blackhawks would have to give them around $7.5 million each.
39. The No. 3 shootout shooter
The Blackhawks were slightly above .500 in shootouts last season with a 6-5 record. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville turned to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in every shootout last season, and the pair scored 11 of the team's 16 shootout goals. But Quenneville couldn't consistently decide on a No. 3 shooter and used a number of different players there. Marian Hossa, Michal Rozsival, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp were among the players to get multiple shootout attempts last season. Of the group, Hossa was the only player to score more than one goal. He had two goals in three attempts. It will be interesting to see whether Quenneville sticks with Hossa as the No. 3 shooter this season or goes a different route.
ESPNChicago.com's Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers will count down this season's top 50 storylines over the next week leading into training camp.
Here's the first installment:
50. Bollig, the enforcer
The Blackhawks will likely be auditioning for five roster spots during training camp. One of those positions will likely go to Brandon Bollig. Some may argue enforcers aren't really needed on a team, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has often liked to have someone who isn't afraid to drop his gloves and step up for his teammates. With Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo gone, there aren't many of those type of players remaining on the roster. Bollig led the Blackhawks with five fights last season. He will be looking for his first career point this season. He has zero points in 43 career NHL games.
49. Sellout and attendance streak
The Blackhawks are aiming to lead the NHL in attendance for the sixth consecutive season. They have sold out the United Center for 187 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2008-09 season. They averaged a paid attendance of 21,775 during their 24 home games last season.
Bowman’s lone moves Friday were signing Nikolai Khabibulin to be a backup goaltender and re-signing forward Michal Handzus and defenseman Michal Rozsival. He also previously re-signed forward Bryan Bickell and defenseman Nick Leddy.
“I’ve always had the philosophy if you’re relying on the free-agent period in July to save your team, it’s probably not the prescription we’re looking for,” Bowman said on Friday night. “Adding a player here and there is certainly understandable. Bryan Bickell, I guess, could fall into that category. We got him signed a week ago leading into this. He’s the only guy you can put into that category for us, the frenzy.
“I think the way to build success and sustain it is through the draft and develop your players and add in the occasional player through free agency. If I had my choice, I would do it the way we’ve done it recently which is develop from within, have your young players emerge over time, don’t rush them to the NHL and really use the draft and the development of your young players as a way to find really good players. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that. When we find a group that has had success, we can keep it together like we have this summer. That’s the preferred method for us. I think it’s the most prudent way in the salary cap world to sustain success.”
The 18-year-old Hartman, who is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, had 23 goals, 37 assists and a plus-29 rating in 56 games for the Whalers last season. He was ranked No. 23 among ESPN’s top-50 2013 draft prospects.
“Today's game requires a high level of grit and this American forward is the epitome of character,” ESPN’s analysis of Hartman included. “He does all the little things: blocks shots, takes a hit to make a play and will fight when the situation presents itself. He has underrated skill and with natural physical maturity he will find a way to play. He is the type of player coaches want to put into the lineup.”
During the draft, the Blackhawks traded forward Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the No. 51 and No. 117 overall picks in the 2013 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft.
The Blackhawks also acquired the No. 74 and 134 overall picks in the 2013 draft from the Winnipeg Jets for forward Michal Frolik. The Blackhawks also traded the No. 117 and 151 overall picks in the 2013 draft to the San Jose Sharks for the No. 111 overall pick in the 2013 draft and a fifth-round pick in 2014.
The Blackhawks drafted Linkoping Jr. (Sweden) defenseman Carl Dahlstrom with the No. 51 pick. The 18-year-old Dahlstrom, who is 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, had five goals, eight assists and a plus-12 rating in 37 games for Linkoping last season.
The Blackhawks drafted USA U-18 forward John Hayden, who was born in Chicago, with the No. 74 selection. The 18-year-old Hayden had 15 goals and 14 assists in 45 games with the U.S. national team last season. He is a Yale University recruit.
The Blackhawks added a second Swedish defenseman in Robin Norell with the No. 111 pick. The 18-year-old Norell, who is 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, had 10 goals, seven assists and a plus-16 rating in 30 games for Djurgarden U-18 (Sweden) last season.
The Blackhawks’ other draft picks included 18-year-old USHL forward Tyler Motte at No. 121, 18-year-old USHL forward Luke Johnson at No. 134, 18-year-old USHL forward Anthony Louis, who is from Winfield, Ill., at No. 181 and 18-year-old Swedish defenseman Robin Press at No. 211.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was participating in his fourth draft since being named to the position in 2009. His past first-round selections were forward Teuvo Teravainen at No. 18 overall in 2012, forward Mark McNeill at No. 18 overall and forward Phillip Danault at No. 26 overall in 2011 and forward Kevin Hayes at No. 24 overall in 2010.
Two players drafted by Bowman have played in the NHL so far. Forward Brandon Saad was drafted in the second round, No. 43 overall in the 2011 draft and was a Calder Trophy finalist during the 2013 season. Forward Andrew Shaw was drafted in the fifth round, No. 139 overall in 2011 and has appeared in 85 games for the Blackhawks the past two seasons.
The Blackhawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup roster included six former first-round selections, five second-round picks, two third-round picks, five fourth-round picks, two fifth-round picks, two sixth-round picks, one seventh-round pick and four undrafted players.
The former first-round selections included Patrick Kane (No. 1 in 2007 by the Blackhawks), Jonathan Toews (No. 3 in 2006 by the Blackhawks), Michal Frolik (No. 10 in 2006 by the Florida Panthers), Marian Hossa (No. 12 in 1996 by the Ottawa Senators), Brent Seabrook (No. 14 in 2003 by the Blackhawks) and Nick Leddy (No. 16 in 2009 by Minnesota Wild).
One of those changes could see Bolland and his $3.375 million contract on the move. Bolland scored a rebound goal with 59 seconds remaining of Monday's Game 6, giving the Hawks a 3-2 advantage and an eventual second championship in four years.
"(I) would love to be back here next year but whatever happens, happens," Bolland said in response to the rumors. "This is the NHL and trades happen, but I would love to be back here. I love Chicago."
The Hawks found offensive success by attacking the net more no matter who was on the ice for the Bruins. Jonathan Toews expressed as much in the days after Game 4. Sustaining that at home should be easier to accomplish with the right work ethic considering any match-up concerns now favor the Hawks.
Did they really figure something out against Zdeno Chara or was that a fluke?
“It's not going to be like last game,” Dave Bolland predicted Saturday morning. “He's going to be looking to play a different game, change things around. We're going to have to be aware of him.”
Another key was the Hawks blue-line activating the offense and more importantly being a part of it. Michal Rozsival may have been one of the most important players on the ice as his shots led to two goals, establishing the Hawks lead for most of the night. Skating with the puck and pinching at the right time while helping on offense is a Hawks strength from the back-end. Expect it to continue.
Everyone’s eye will be on Corey Crawford’s glove on his left hand. Were his issues a one game aberration or something that might crop up again? If the worst case scenario happens, and Crawford gives up some early goals, there’s nothing to say Quenneville can’t go to Ray Emery. It’s not as likely of an option for Boston if the same struggles occur to Tuukka Rask because they don’t have a back-up who went 17-1. It’s doubtful Emery gets in there but it’s not a stretch to believe Crawford’s leash became a little shorter after Game 4.
Winning in the circle
Face-offs became an issue after the Hawks lost 71 percent of them in Game 3, but they reversed that trend in Game 4 coming out on top of about half of them. It had a big impact.
“I think it played a part early on in the game,” Quenneville said Saturday morning. “I thought we were much more effective than in the prior game. They got better as the game went on. I just think starting with the puck is key. I think having it against this team is important.”
The proof is in the results. The Hawks played a life-less Game 3 on offense when wining just 29 percent of the draws – and got shutout. Winning 38 of 77 face-offs made a big difference and it’s not a coincidence the Hawks scored more in Game 4, partly because of that improvement.
An X-factor line for Hawks
For a 6-5 final score in Game 3, the Hawks third line of Andrew Shaw, Viktor Stalberg and Brandon Saad had a quiet night. They combined for an even, plus/minus game, with their lone point coming on Saad’s short-handed assist to open the scoring. Collectively, they say they were happy with their defense in an open game but would like to be more noticeable on the offensive end. They combined for three shots on net.
“I like to get those chances,” Stalberg said of a bull rush around a slower defenseman. “The way they play, they play pretty structured. They come back five guys hard. The way to beat them is to keep longer cycles in their end, they have bigger guys that get tired, maybe. Longer puck possessions are key.”
Added Shaw: “Defensively we’ve been pretty good but we do need to create a few more offensive chances going into Game 5 here.”
Most observers felt the playing surface in Game 4 in Boston was better than in Game 3. Coincidentally, or not, the Hawks went from being shutout to scoring six goals. There’s little doubt a smoother surface benefits the speedy Hawks against most opponents – including the Bruins.
“I thought the ice was fine today,” Quenneville said. “It's kind of one of those days with the humidity and it will be a little warmer out there today. But the building and the playoffs have been fine, the ice has been fine. We talked about that going into that game against Detroit with the Stones (Rolling Stones), and I think everybody had no problem with the ice. I think sometimes late in periods you've got to know that it gets a little bit worn out in both buildings, and you've got to be smart in those areas.”
Still, things could be different at game time and a fast surface can only help the Hawks – not hurt them.
Marian Hossa will play and can only be feeling better after two days off the ice. He didn’t take the morning practice on Saturday so he hasn’t been on skates since the end of Game 4 late on Wednesday. Quenneville says he’ll be better in Game 5 as any boost from Hossa is a huge boost for the Hawks.
BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has been around long enough to know that what he and his teammates were feeling after their Game 3 loss in the Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins on Monday wasn’t going to last come Tuesday.
“I think we’ve been in the playoffs a number of years together,” Sharp said at TD Garden on Tuesday. “This is my fifth year in Chicago. It feels like the end of the world after the loss, but you wake up the next day and realize it’s a long series and there’s another game to be played. The start of Game 4 we’re not going to be thinking about what happened in Game 3. It’s all about that next game.”
The Blackhawks may be moving on from Game 3 and have repeatedly said they’re not panicking being down 2-1 in the series, but they also admitted Tuesday they were facing a vital Game 4.
“I think we're in a tough spot,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “In the Detroit [Red Wings’ Western Conference semifinals] series, we found a way to get ourselves to get back into it. That's what we're looking for. [Wednesday] is a very important game, like we have to win [Wednesday] night. Come up with a good result, we're right where we want to be.”
BOSTON -- Joel Quenneville held off judgment of Dave Bolland's performance in Game 3 on the Stanley Cup finals on Monday, but a day later the Chicago Blackhawks coach said he expects more from Bolland.
Bolland was whistled for a game-high three penalties, was robbed of the puck in the Blackhawks' zone to set up the Bruins' first goal, won 1-of-8 faceoffs, had one just hit and had a minus-2 rating in the Blackhawks' 2-0 loss on Monday.
"Yeah, one of those nights, rough night," Quenneville said at TD Garden on Tuesday. "Certainly can't take three (penalties). I think you've got to be smarter about it when you do take one, that maybe you put yourself in that spot again. Let's make sure we learn from that."
Bolland had trouble staying out of the penalty box early in the playoffs when he had three multi-penalty games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals, but he had since limited those trips. He was called for two penalties in the last nine games leading up to Game 3 on Monday.
Bolland, who didn't speak to reporters after the game, wasn't sure why he committed three penalties in Game 3 when he spoke with the media on Tuesday.
"Maybe could have been too aggressive," Bolland said. "It's a fast game. You're always moving your feet. You're always trying to get pucks off guys. It's the way things go."
Bolland's Game 3 struggles came after he played his best game of the playoffs in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. He had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-3 triple-overtime win over the Bruins in Game 1. It was Bolland's first goal and first multi-point game of the playoffs.
Bolland believes the key to improving his play in Game 4 on Wednesday is being better with his puck possession.
"I think I have to bring a lot more in Game 4, for sure," Bolland said. "I think for myself bringing that puck to the net. What I do with that puck down low is the main thing. It's just not throwing the puck away and just throwing it in front of the net. I think we have that confidence down low, and we have to take the puck to the net."
The Blackhawks wasted all five of their power-play chances in Game 3 and extended their goal-less streak to 20 consecutive power plays, including all 11 in the finals.
Less than a week later, Game 3 may have been his worst.
Bolland was whistled for a game-high three penalties, was robbed of the puck in the Hawks' zone to set up Boston's first goal, won 1-of-8 faceoffs, had one just hit and had a minus-2 rating in the Blackhawks' 2-0 loss.
Bolland's first penalty, a cross-checking call, gave the Bruins their first power play of the game at 12:00 of the second period. With 11 seconds left on Bolland's penalty, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent to the box for tripping. The Blackhawks killed off the 5-on-3 opportunity, but Bolland was unable to return to the defensive zone before the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron scored to put the Bruins ahead 2-0.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't comment on Bolland specifically after the loss, but he thought the power-play goal was costly.
"Haven't talked to him yet," Quenneville said of Bolland. "We'll reassess and reevaluate the game. Certainly I liked our first [period.] Didn't mind our third [period.] Lost a lot of momentum on their first goal. Five-on-three situation was something, that was the game. We got to make sure that every play is critical, every shift is important, value being out there and doing the right thing. Managing the puck is kind of what we're talking about on those situations."
Bolland had accumulated a number of penalties early in the playoffs, but he had done a better job in that area as of late. Monday marked his first multi-penalty games since compiling three multi-penalty games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals. He has nine penalties and 18 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games.
Bolland missed the opening round due to a lower-body injury.
Quenneville had praised Bolland's play after Game 1 when Bolland had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-3 triple-overtime win. It was Bolland's first goal and his first multi-point game of the playoffs. Bolland was also a factor late in the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings with a few key hits.
Bolland was requested by the media after the game, but he was not made available before the locker room was closed.
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