Islanders goalie and Glenview native Al Montoya considered it a dream come true to start against the Blackhawks in the United Center on Friday night.
"This is awesome," Montoya said before the game. "This is something I've been waiting for since I was a kid. It's definitely something special to be a part of.
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"I had to do about 25 tickets on my own and then I've got other friends who went out and purchased their own tickets, so I've got a pretty good number (of people coming). No scalpers. They're legit."
Some might question why it took Montoya so long to get to the United Center considering he was the sixth pick overall in the 2004 draft by the New York Rangers.
Montoya spent parts of the last seven seasons in the minors working his way up.
"Definitely thankful for (that time developing)," Montoya said. "Everything happens
for a reason and I'm a true believer of that. (I paid) the price, and my goal was always when I got here to stay here."
Playing through it:
Missing practices but playing in the games is likely to continue for Dave Bolland.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said the problem is not the foot injury that recently sidelined Bolland.
"I don't think they are related at all, but at the same time I don't think the ailment, it's not changing much," Quenneville said. "I think he's handling it OK. That's what we're dealing with right now."
Whenever Bolland is sidelined from time to time there is fear it's his surgically repaired back acting up.
Making an impression:
Add Jonathan Toews to the list of those impressed by the recent play of rookie center Marcus Kruger.
"He's gaining more confidence by the day," Toews said. "He's been good on the power play and I think that's one of those things that shows confidence. It's easier maybe to go out there 5-on-5 and make things happen, but when you go out on the power play there's pressure to make the smart plays and he's shown he can do all that."
Second time around:
The Blues were 8-1-2 under new coach Ken Hitchcock going into Friday's game at Colorado.
The Hawks face the Blues for the second time under Hitchcock, who warned his team needed to be ready for teams such as Chicago and Detroit the second time around.
"We're going to get a push," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You can surprise a team, but we're now playing a second wave. When we start playing the Chicagos and Detroits again, now we'll have a look. They'll be ready for us. They won't be surprised by our game."
The Hawks traded minor league left wing Rob Klinkhammer to Ottawa on Friday for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2013. ... Ben Smith replaced the slumping Bryan Bickell in Friday's lineup. ... John Scott and Sami Lepisto also were scratched.