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Blackhawks' Brandon Bollig rewarded for patience in Stanley Cup Final

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 7:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:31 a.m. CDT
Caption
(JACK DEMPSEY)
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Bollig (52) and Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly (90) skate during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 18, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

CHICAGO – Brandon Bollig could have pouted or complained during his five-week stint as a healthy scratch between playoff games.

Instead, the Blackhawks’ forward smiled and waited for his next opportunity.

“You just have to stay ready when you’re in my position,” Bollig said. “You never know what’s going to happen. You never know when you’re going to get that call.”

That call came Wednesday.

The Hawks inserted Bollig into the lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, marking the enforcer’s first action since May 5 against the Minnesota Wild. Bollig replaced speedy but struggling forward Viktor Stalberg, who entered the series with no goals, three assists and a minus-1 rating in 15 playoff appearances.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Bollig (6-foot-2, 223 pounds) provided a physical fourth-line presence against the Bruins. In 25 regular-season games, Bollig registered zero points and 51 penalty minutes while protecting his teammates.

“We want him to play hard, smart, within the whistles,” Quenneville said. “Bring that element.”

It’s official: Stephen Walkom will not play a role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Walkom, who waved off Niklas Hjalmarsson’s potential game-winning goal late in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, was not one of four referees selected to work the final round between the Hawks and Bruins.

The referees who worked Game 1 were Chris Rooney (second Stanley Cup Final) and Brad Watson (seventh). Two other referees also were selected to work games during the series: Dan O’Halloran (sixth) and Wes McCauley (first).

The linesmen assigned to the Stanley Cup Final were Shane Heyer (third), Brian Murphy (sixth), Pierre Racicot (seventh) and Jay Sharrers (seventh).

Thin ice: The Hawks developed an intense rivalry with the Phoenix Coyotes during a six-game playoff series last season.

That might have marked the Hawks’ last postseason trip to Phoenix. 

“It’s possible the team won’t play there next year,” Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, said before Game 1. “Look, we're in the short strokes in Phoenix now. The ownership group we've negotiated a deal with has been negotiating with the city of Glendale. I think everybody knows what’s on the table and I think the puck pretty much is in the city of Glendale's end right now.”

Honest athlete: After the Boston Bruins drafted young forward David Krejci in 2004, the Czech Republic native was asked about joining an Original Six franchise.

Krejci had no idea what that meant.

“I never knew it started with six teams,” Krejci said this week before the start of the Stanley Cup Final. “I grew up watching it when it was, I don’t know, 28 [teams]. …

“But I’ve been on the Bruins for a long time now. I’ve met some awesome hockey players like Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, John Bucyk. I’ve learned over the past few years about the history of the Bruins. I’m happy I can be part of the Bruins.”

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