By Adam Hoge-
UNITED CENTER (CBS) As expected, Brandon Bollig will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night.
Head coach Joel Quenneville will play the hard-nosed forward on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik, matching him up against a physical Bruins team.
“I think he’s pretty smart on knowing what he brings to our team, and to the table,” Quenneville said after Wednesday’s morning skate at the United Center. “We want him to play hard, smart, within the whistles, bring that element.”
Bollig knows his role is to be physical and protect the Hawks’ forwards that bring more speed to their game, but he also realizes there’s a fine line between what will help and hurt the Hawks.
“Obviously we’re looking to stay out of the box,” he said Wednesday. “I think you need to find the line and maybe push the envelope, but not too far.”
Bollig said Quenneville hadn’t stressed any added importance of discipline yet, but that may be something that comes shortly before puck drop.
“I think that’s something we’ll reinforce, like we said earlier, playing hard between whistles, knowing a small quantity of penalties, one or two, will be preferable,” Quenneville said. “You never know how the games are going to be. You can’t control that. You want to make sure you’re playing hard and stay responsible, but let’s stay out of the box.”
Bollig will be playing for the first time since the opening playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, and needless to say, he’s excited.
“You dream of this as a kid and I’m excited to live that dream and get going,” he said. “Getting family in town and seeing the crowd out there is going to be amazing and hopefully we come out on top here in Game 1.”
With Bollig’s presence, Viktor Stalberg will find himself wearing a suit for the third time this postseason. Some will worry about the speed being lost without Stalberg in the lineup, but he has only produced three assists during the postseason and Bollig could provide a more important element against the Bruins.
“You’re comfortable with him in your own end,” Quenneville said. “Faceoffs as well. You have an overall game that we like. I think he can bring an element to our team.”
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