Bollig in lineup to provide physical presence
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org June 13, 2013 12:20AM
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins checks Brandon Bollig #52 of the Chicago Blackhawks into the boards in the first period in Game One of the NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Final at United Center on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Updated: July 15, 2013 7:28PM
Blackhawks winger Brandon Bollig said what you’re supposed to say hours before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final — that he was treating it like any other game.
Yeah, good luck with that.
“I know, but you’ve got to approach it that way,” said Bollig, who played for the first time since May 5 in place of the benched Viktor Stalberg. “You can’t psych yourself up too much. But, obviously, it’s very exciting. You do dream of this as a child, and I’m excited to live this dream.”
Even though this is Stalberg’s second benching of the playoffs — Daniel Carcillo took his spot for the first two games against the Detroit Red Wings — Bollig’s insertion into the lineup came as a surprise to just about everyone, including Bollig. But he played 25 games during the regular season — mostly with linemates Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik — and has been skating and working out with the team all postseason.
He knew he was ready. But he hoped he wouldn’t be rusty.
“I don’t think I will be,” he said. “Our coaches do a good job of keeping you ready, and you skate every day for a reason, just in case you do get that call. And I was lucky enough to get that call. I’m excited, and I don’t think it should be a problem getting back out there.”
Bollig is the Hawks’ primary enforcer, but there hasn’t been a fight yet in a Hawks game this postseason. His role isn’t to drop the gloves but to provide a counterpunch to the Boston Bruins’ aggressive, physical style of play and offer his teammates some protection.
“Just provide that physical presence,” Bollig said. “And hopefully provide that safety to allow our superstars and our more skilled guys to play their game and feel more comfortable doing it. Obviously, Boston’s a big, tough team.”
With that in mind, coach Joel Quenneville wanted his team to be smart and not take things too far.
“Discipline is something we talk about all the time,” Quenneville said. “You want to make sure you’re playing hard and stay responsible. But let’s stay out of the box.”
Bollig said he could do that.
“There’s a fine line, and you want to try to push the envelope but not push it too far,” Bollig said. “You’ve got to know when to be intense and when to rein it in a bit. That’s part of being in the NHL. And I’m excited to have that challenge of doing it.”