By Adam Hoge-
UNITED CENTER (CBS) With a playoff-like media contingent looking on at the Blackhawks’ morning skate Tuesday morning, center Dave Bolland returned to the ice and vowed he’ll play tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Bolland missed five games after suffering an upper-body injury Feb. 22 against the Sharks. Tuesday, he played coy about the specifics regarding the injury, but he did say it was not a concussion, an important admission for someone with a long history head injuries.
“I don’t think it was anything from my history,” Bolland said. “I think it was something else. This game is a hard hitting game. You never know what’s going to happen, but I don’t think it was anything coming back from my history.”
Bolland returned to his familiar spot as the second-line center in Tuesday’s morning skate, with Marcus Kruger moving back to the fourth line.
“It’s never fun when you’re sitting out games and winning and seeing all the fun that’s going on on the ice,” Bolland said. “It’s always disappointing seeing it on TV and seeing what’s going on. I’m just glad I’m back and ready.”
Frolik Sick, Doubtful
One man who was not on the ice at the morning skate was winger Michael Frolik, who is sick. Head coach Joel Quenneville classified him as “doubtful” for tonight’s game.
With Frolik out, Brandon Bollig was on the fourth line with Kruger at center and Daniel Carcillo on the opposite wing.
In The Spotlight
It may have taken a 22-game point streak, but the Blackhawks have captured the attention of the national media. The amount of reporters at Tuesday’s skate was similar to a playoff series.
For some teams, that may add some pressure, but inside the locker room, the players barely flinched.
“I’d say maybe multiplied by two,” Quenneville said in regards to the amount of media in the building. “It’s been a fun start to the season. I think the guys have been approaching each and every game as a new challenge and I think our opponents every game have been excited about playing us as well.”
That dynamic has resulted in a number of exciting games, with seven one-goal games during the Blackhawks’ current nine-game win-streak.
Tuesday night figures to be another exciting game as the Wild — 6-3-1 in their last 10 games — try to beat the Hawks for the second time this season. The Wild are one of the three teams able to hand the Blackhawks a shootout loss during the current 22-game point streak.
Bolland said the Hawks need to be ready for the Wild’s speed and be good on draws to avoid another loss to Minnesota. Back on Jan. 30, they let a 2-1 first period league slip away before losing in the shootout.
Adding to the challenge will be Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who was the NHL’s Third Star Of The Week last week after posting a 3-0-0 record and a 2.00 goals against average.
For more Blackhawks coverage throughout the season, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHogeCBS.