DETROIT -- Ignoring Dave Bolland on the ice is easier said than done.
The pesky Bolland got under the skin of Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader in Game 5, drawing a retaliation cross-checking penalty in the second period that turned into a power-play goal by Jonathan Toews.
"Just don't worry about him," Abdelkader said of the Blackhawks center. "He likes to talk a lot. He tries to play on the edge and be physical, but if you just play hard against him between the whistles, and after the whistles we don't need to get involved with any of the aftermath stuff."
Bolland has had a rocky season, and even started Games 5 and 6 on the fourth line, but the playoffs are when he shines.
"Yeah, getting back to that hard-nosed, hitting, getting under the skin game," Bolland said before the Hawks' 4-3 victory in Game 6. "You try to do the smart things and staying out of the box is probably the main thing.
"The chances you get in the league these days, some of the penalties you take during a game could lead to four or five power plays. That could be a huge thing if you capitalize on them. I think getting back to my pesky self is a good thing."
Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith grew up with Bolland near Mimico, Ontario, and says that always has been his game, trying to be chippy and frustrate the opposition.
"He's actually one of my buddies from back home," Smith said. "We've chit-chatted back and forth a few times, but it's not hard to ignore anybody on the ice. It's just something that's kind of a will to put them behind you and play your own game."
Smith says the Hawks have a lot of guys like Bolland, naming Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell as two others.
"That's what their job is. They're trying to be pesty, and if you do let them get under your skin then they've won and that's the whole thing."
Shaw was one of the stars of Game 5 with 2 goals, but he enjoyed rattling the Red Wings with his annoying play just as much.
"I don't know if I developed that; I think it's just my personality," he said. "I can really get under the skin of anyone, in a game, in the dressing room, it's just who I am. I think the guys in here are glad I'm on their team."
Shaw says the entire team feeds off Bolland and what he does to the opposition.
"They don't call him the Rat for nothing," Shaw said. "He gets the boys going, that's for sure. He creates momentum for the next shift and the next shift after that."
Patrick Kane has been Bolland's teammate for a long time and appreciates what he brings to the table. Kane thought Bolland could be a big factor in Game 6 on Monday.
"That's the way he's got to play in playoffs," Kane said. "That's kind of the way he has played ever since I've been here, whether it's getting under the Sedins' skin or Joe Thornton.
"I know he's on a different line now and maybe has a little bit different role, but he still can be used that way and get under their skin, whether it's them taking bad penalties or them worrying more about him than the game."
Smith contends most of the Red Wings ignore Bolland.
"There are so many professional players on our team, I don't think it really affects the guys," Smith said. "You see them hacking and slashing and whatever after the whistle,
"I haven't really seen anybody retaliate or get down about it. The only jawing I've really seen has been Abdelkader and Bolland, and that's something that we don't mind.
"Other guys, you see (Henrik) Zetterberg getting slashed after the whistle by (Jonathan) Toews and it doesn't affect him. You watch him and he comes out even better."