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Ex-Blackhawk Dave Bolland received warmly in return to UC

Updated: November 21, 2013 7:03AM

Dave Bolland had dinner with Jonathan Toews and a “few buddies” after the Toronto Maple Leafs’ arrived Friday. He saw a bunch of his other former teammates as they arrived at the United Center on Saturday.

“It was nice to see some of the guys,” Bolland said shortly before the game. “But in a few minutes, I don’t think they’ll be my friends.”

Maybe not on the ice, but Bolland certainly still has plenty of friends in the stands. The guy who said, “I stand for the diehards in the 300 level,” during the pregame video last season, received a warm standing ovation from the 21,801 in attendance when he was recognized over the PA and on the scoreboard during a stoppage in the first period. Bolland also got a big ovation when he came out to participate in the ceremonial puck drop with Jonathan Toews on Hockey Fights Cancer night.

“Coming back into the old UC, the emotions are running high,” Bolland said.

Bolland will always be a part of Hawks lore, a member of two Stanley Cup teams and the scorer of the Cup-winning goal in Game 6 at Boston in June. Bolland capped the Hawks’ famed “17 seconds” with a stunning goal with 58.3 seconds left. Bolland said the Hawks have the puck from that goal.

It was a sweet end to a difficult season for Bolland, who battled injuries and was demoted to the third and fourth lines for most of the postseason.

“That 17 seconds felt like days when you’re on the ice,” Bolland said. “The game-winning goal was a nice cap-off, for sure.”

Being traded on draft day six days later was bittersweet, as he was heading back to his hometown Maple Leafs. It’s been a great start so far, with three goals and three assists in his first eight games.

“It has been a positive,” Bolland said. “It’s nice to get back to my family and get back home. Toronto’s where I grew up and watched the Leafs for [so] long … watching Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark and all those guys. To come back and play for them and to have some success here is great.”

Bolland said that some of his new teammates and even the assistant coaches have asked him for tips and stories about what it takes and what it’s like to win the Cup (head coach Randy Carlyle won it with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007).

“It’s a long road to get there when you look at it, it’s not easy,” Bolland said. “But as of right now, for us, that’s our path, to try to get back to there.”

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