All those days where he just stayed inside with the drapes closed.
All those phone calls and text messages he never answered.
All those mornings where he'd wake up and pray this would be the day the fog would lift, the day he'd finally snap out of it.
For Blackhawks center Dave Bolland, there were many dark, dark days since he suffered a concussion on March 9 in a game against Tampa Bay.
“It was pretty dreadful,” Bolland said. “It's a tough process because you never know when you're going to snap out of that concussion. You never know when you're going to get back on the ice.”
Well, on Tuesday morning Bolland passed the league-mandated concussion test. On Tuesday evening he passed another test — this one with flying colors — as he made his return to the ice a triumphant one with the first 4-point game of his career (goal, 3 assists) to lead the Blackhawks in a 7-2 rout of Vancouver.
“The first game back is always the one you worry about,” Bolland said.
It sure didn't show from the moment he hopped over the boards for his first shift to the cheers of many at the UC. He promptly landed a big hit and followed that by nearly beating Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo from out front.
“I thought I had that one, it popped off my feet … now I remember these things,” Bolland said with a laugh. “Yeah, after that and then when I threw the hit, I knew I was doing good.”
So did the Hawks, who were really, really glad to have the savvy veteran back.
“Huge boost; Bolly gives us a lot of juice, a lot of energy,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
“He's just such a smart player and that helps out more than anything,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “He's able to think the game better than a lot of guys out there.”
And that includes Vancouver's Sedin twins, whom Bolland seems to have a knack for shutting down.
That sure was the case in Game 4. Both Sedins were awfully quiet Tuesday until the final minutes when Daniel scored to cut the lead to five.
Getting back out on the ice — particularly against Vancouver — is exactly what kept Bolland going during those dark times.
“You want to play in these games; these are the ones that count,” he said. “This is when you see the big players shine.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.