On the eve of playing his first postseason game since the Minnesota series, Brandon Bollig admitted that one thought kept running through his head: What is it actually going to be like out there when the puck is dropped in Game 1 against Boston at the UC?
"It didn't disappoint," Bollig said with a grin.
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And why would it? In the first three minutes there were more "thwacks" and "bams" then in an entire episode of the old "Batman" series, as the Blackhawks came out hitting anything and everything that moved.
In all, they were credited with 10 hits over the span, each revving up the sellout crowd a notch more, eventually resulting in a standing ovation once the whistle stopped play.
"It was great," said the 6-foot-2, 223-pound winger. "That's my kind of game. That's probably a good reason why I was in the lineup. Games like that are definitely fun to play in; they help you stay engaged, stay focused on the goal at hand."
"It didn't disappoint the crowd either."
Bollig, who replaced Viktor Stalberg in the lineup, was a big part of the Hawks' hit parade, tying Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw for the team lead with 9 hits in the marathon. For the game, the Hawks actually outhit the bruising Bruins 61-59.
"You try to approach it like any other game, but it's not," the 26-year-old said. "The intensity was up -- even in warmups with the crowd. I was a little shaky at first."
Not playing for two full series will do that to a guy.
"You know, it's tough," he admitted of watching from the press box. "It's more tough mentally than anything to stay with it, but it's just part of being a professional.
"That's part of your job to stay engaged and stay ready in case you get that call."
In all, Bollig logged just more than 14 minutes of ice time, playing mainly alongside Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger.
"Obviously, he's a huge guy, big body," Frolik said. "He can skate and he can hit.
"We played a few games in the season together and it was working well. We found the chemistry pretty quick out there and spent some time in the offensive zone."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed with the trio.
"They had a lot of energy shifts," he said. "It seemed like they would always start in our end and end in the other team's end.
"They haven't been together in awhile, but it was like they played all year together."