Hawks' Bolland happy to contribute offensively
The points are piling up for Dave Bolland, but that doesn't mean the Blackhawks' checking center is about to forget about his primary role on the team.
"The main thing is defense for me," Bolland said. "But I also think I have the offensive skill to go up front and to play up there and produce in the offensive zone."
Bolland likely never will be the prolific scorer in the NHL that he was in juniors, when he had back-to-back seasons of 85 and 130 points playing for the London Knights starting in 2004.
But he did have 52 points for the Hawks in 2008-09 and last season put up 28 points in just 39 games.
Bolland had a terribly slow start this season with 3 points in his first 16 games. He also went 16 games without a goal but lately has come alive with 8 points in the last six games, including 5 goals.
"I don't know, the puck's going my way and it's on my stick," Bolland said. "I don't know what it is, if it's a pregame nap or something I'm doing. Whatever, I'm just going to keep on doing it. I did come out a lot slow the first half of the season, but the second half is a little bit better."
Bolland said coach Joel Quenneville hasn't asked him to start thinking more about his offense.
"Not necessarily," Bolland said. "I know I have the offensive skills, you guys know that. I just think it was about time for it to come out."
Quenneville sees Bolland's offensive game as going hand in hand with what he does defensively.
"I just think that his production offensively, he can score when he has that pace to the game," Quenneville said. "When he has the puck, he's skating and he can make plays.
"He's had stretches where his play has reflected because he's not producing, and that's on both sides of the puck. When he's skating and he's moving, his game is really at a different level."
Bolland looks quicker on the ice, which is something Quenneville sees as making a difference.
"He has more speed in his game, and when he has more speed he seems to have the puck more," Quenneville said. "He's obviously more comfortable with the puck and is seeing plays and making more 1-on-1 plays and he's protecting the puck a little more."
Bolland has settled in with linemates Fernando Pisani and Bryan Bickell -- a third line that has become very effective and consistent. Bolland has 10 goals, Bickell 12 and Pisani 7 for a combined 29.
There has been more consistency in all four of the Hawks' lines, which Bolland believes makes for better chemistry.
"When you start mixing guys around it does get a little difficult," Bolland said. "You get that chemistry and get to know where guys are on the ice.
"It's tough sometimes when you switch things around, but right now we're going well and I hope that we can stick, but if not, that's the way it goes."