Daily Archives: September 13, 2011

Season Preview: Dave Bolland – Year of ‘The Rat’

photo credit: National Post/Getty

By Brad Gardner

Dave Bolland missed significant time due to injury for the second consecutive regular season, but again proved himself with a strong finish in the playoffs. The center helped key the Blackhawks’ turnaround in their first round series against Vancouver.  Bolland earned a goal and three assists in Chicago’s game four win. He finished the postseason tied for the team lead with six points and led the team with a plus-six rating despite playing in only the final four games of the series.

A high elbow from Pavel Kubina knocked Bolland out of the lineup for the final 14 games of the regular season and start of the playoffs, resulting in his second consecutive injury-shortened season. Despite the missed time, the center’s production rebounded from the previous season in which his effectiveness was limited by a back injury. Surgery on the back eventually cost Bolland half of the 2009-10 regular season and he registered a career-low .41 points per game when he was able to play.

Last season, he upped his output to .61 points per game, a notch better than the .59 mark that helped him earn a 5-year, $16.875 million dollar extension in the summer of 2009. It may not be the top-six production that some expected from a former 100-point scorer at the junior level, but Bolland’s reputation has largely been built as a shutdown center capable of throwing the opposition off its game. Read more »

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Sharp gets emergency appendectomy, Bickell ready, Bieber shows his colors

Patrick Sharp underwent emergency appendectomy surgery on Monday evening.

“Patrick Sharp underwent an emergent surgical appendectomy this evening after experiencing some abnormal abdominal discomfort,” Blackhawks head physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a team statement released Monday night.  “The surgery was successful and I anticipate a full recovery in approximately three to four weeks.”

Based on prior instances across sports, a more likely timetable for an athlete of Sharp’s stature is 2-3 weeks.  Four weeks would push Sharp’s return beyond the Blackhawks opening weekend match ups with the Stars as four weeks from the time of surgery is October 10.

Sharp will be fine.  This development does open the door for increased reps and exhibition game action for the likes of Viktor Stalberg, Rostislav Olesz, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Segal, Brett McLean and others. Read more »

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Season Preview: Marian Hossa – Juggling dominance, injury and aging

By Jon Fromi

In the two seasons Marian Hossa has played in Chicago since signing what is virtually a lifetime contract, he has played in 122 of the Blackhawks’ 164 regular-season contests. Throughout his tenure in the Indian head sweater, Hossa has flashed brilliance to the Blackhawks faithful. In turn, injuries have nagged at the veteran forward from the day he hit town.

Hossa’s success depends on his 32-year-old body’s ability to keep its end of the bargain. Unlike his contract with the Blackhawks, Hossa’s pact with his body has been a shaky one thus far.

Welcome to your thirties, Mr. Hossa. Here’s your pass to the trainer’s room.

Hossa’s health and his ability to make good on the huge financial commitment made by the team is always going to be at the forefront of conversation. Not to be lost is the fact that Chicago still has a hell of a player in Hossa. Read more »

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