Dave Bolland missed his fifth straight playoff game Thursday with a groin injury, but the Blackhawks' veteran center vowed to be ready for the second round.
"For sure, I'm working at it to make sure it gets better," Bolland said.
Bolland said there was a 50-50 chance he would have played Thursday if the series with Minnesota hadn't been 3-1 for the Hawks.
It's no fun not playing, said Bolland, who has had his best moments in the playoffs.
"It eats at you a lot," he said. "It's pretty painful, actually. It's not fun being out and spending all your time in the training room and workout room while the other guys are on the ice playing."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has a few options for Bolland whenever he returns.
He could center the second line for Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, which is where Michal Handzus has been filling in.
"When I come back, I'll come back," Bolland said. "It's Q's decision; he makes the final call. I'll get myself ready to come back."
It's also possible Bolland returns to center the third line for Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg, with Andrew Shaw going to play on the fourth line. Bolland could even start on the fourth line and work his way up the line.
"We've got a couple options," Quenneville said. "I think on a need basis, whether he moves where he used to be or where he could work his way up; at the same time it will be a healthy decision knowing that him coming in our lineup gives us more depth, especially in the middle."
Bolland missed 13 games during the regular season with various injuries.
"This year he's been out a little bit, so we've had the chance to find out other options," Quenneville said. "The one at the end with (Handzus), we moved him up in that situation and it was a nice find for us.
"We didn't anticipate that. I think that versatility in our lineup, sometimes you've got to find out."
The last time the Hawks were without Bolland in the playoffs was the first round two years ago against Vancouver. The Hawks lost the first three games without Bolland, who was recovering from a concussion, and when he returned they won three straight to force a Game 7, which they lost in overtime.
"We missed him in that series," Quenneville said. "You could feel his contribution when he returned."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.