Much has been made about the impact Brian Campbell's absence has had on the Blackhawks during this young season. He eats big minutes, moves the puck, and skates through opponents' neutral zone traps better than any other defenseman on the roster.
While the Hawks certainly miss Campbell, are they missing production from somebody IN the lineup even more?
Dave Bolland, who when healthy is usually one of the more steady players on the team, has been dreadful this season. He isn't winning faceoffs (41% in the dot so far), isn't scoring, and hasn't made an impact in the usual places he is counted on. He has two points in ten games and has registered only 14 shots, which is less than Jack Skille's 22 despite playing almost double the minutes.
When Skille and Viktor Stalberg earned an increase in minutes, Quenneville tried putting them on the 3rd line with Bolland. Hawks fans loved the move, but not the results.
Last night against Columbus, Bolland skated alongside Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane for parts of the night and still failed to make an impact.
While the common complaint among Hawks fans currently is the lack of "secondary scoring", how about we worry about our top players producing first? And make no mistake, Dave Bolland is a key piece to this hockey team.
Going back to 2008-2009, Bolly has been one of the Hawks' top playoff performers. His steal and set up of Havlat's Game 1 overtime goal vs. Calgary and assist on Ladd's overtime winner against Vancouver come to mind.
Last year, he made his presence felt in April and May once again. It seemed like he was scoring shorthanded breakaway goals on a routine basis. Probably because he was.
After the scary Nashville series, which player besides Toews and Byfuglien stepped up and put the team on their back against Vancouver and San Jose? Bolland. When this team looks like a well-oiled machine, Bolland always seems to be the one doing the little things to make everything click.
The point is, the Hawks lack 3rd and 4th line scoring right now. That's no secret. While Campbell's return in a couple of weeks should make every forward's life easier, Bolland needs to produce too if this team is going to resemble what we saw last Spring.
We know the type of player Dave Bolland can be, but we have yet to see it much before April.
I love playoff performers as much as the next guy, but Dave, if you're reading, the team needs you right now.
Blackhawks, Chicago Blackhawks, Dave Bolland, Joel Quenneville, Marian Hossa, Stanley Cup Finals, United Center
Andrew Ladd, Brian Campbell, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dave Bolland, Jack Skille, Joel Quenneville, John Talarico, Martin Havlat, Nashville Predators, Patrick Kane, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Viktor Stalberg