Hawks center Dave Bolland won’t be suspended for hit
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 1, 2013 10:32PM
Updated: July 3, 2013 7:04AM
The Los Angeles Kings came into the Western Conference finals with the hard-hitting reputation, not the Blackhawks.
But it was Hawks center Dave Bolland who delivered the first knock-’em-down, leave-’em-woozy hit of what will undeniably be a gritty series.
“He was there,” Bolland said of his jarring hit on Kings center Mike Richards in the final minutes of the Hawks’ 2-1 victory Saturday in Game 1 at the United Center. “I just came in and hit him.”
There apparently won’t be any repercussions — at least, not from the league. There was some concern that Bolland would face a suspension because the principal point of contact was Richards’ head, but the league decided against holding a hearing for Bolland, meaning he won’t face any discipline.
Richards was playing the puck behind goalie Corey Crawford and abruptly stopped to try to stuff it through Crawford. That’s when Bolland struck. His shoulder made contact with Richards’ head. It also can be argued that Bolland left his feet when striking.
“It’s a quick game,” Bolland said when asked if he thought the hit was clean. “It’s a hard-hitting game here. It’s just the way it is. It’s the way the game goes. You get hit. It happens. It’s happened to me.
‘‘It’s a quick game. I just came through with my back, my shoulder. I had my elbow down, right? . . . It’s contact. I don’t know what else to say.”
Richards was shaky after the hit and slowly made his way back to the Kings’ bench. He looked dazed as he rested on the boards.
Richards, who has a history of concussions, declined to speak to the media. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he didn’t see the play.
“Couldn’t see anything,” Sutter said. “Clearly behind the net, behind the goalie. Guys changing. Really couldn’t see it.”
Bolland, who has a reputation as an agitator, wasn’t penalized for his hit on Richards. Play continued, and Bolland drew a tripping penalty on Richards’ linemate Jeff Carter seconds later, giving the Hawks a power play to cap off their victory.
“I just came through, followed [up] my check,” Bolland said.
Bolland has found success as the Hawks’ fourth-line center, earning coach Joel Quenneville’s trust after a tough start to the playoffs.
Bolland took the blame for the Kings’ only goal, calling Justin Williams’ score a gimme. But Quenneville later used Bolland’s line, which includes Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik, against Anze Kopitar’s top line at times.
“Bolland is fine,” Quenne-ville said. “Bolland is progressing in the playoffs. . . . We’re going to need him.”
Said Bolland: “They’re a tough team. They’re going to hit hard; they’re going to come out and play hard. They’ve got a big team. We’ve got to be ready for the next game.”