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Blackhawks think they'll have Bolland back

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are "optimistic" about the return of two-way center Dave Bolland for Game 4 on Tuesday of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Bolland, who scored 15 goals and 37 points in 61 games, has been out since early March with side effects of a severe concussion incurred in a game on March 9 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Bolly's a competitive guy," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday. "He's been waiting a long time to get back in the lineup. Based on the timing, he's ready to play and he wants to play."

Last season, Bolland frustrated the Canucks -- especially star twins Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin -- with his gritty ability as a checking-line center in a Western Conference semifinal series won by Chicago in six games. This season, Bolland has missed the first three games of the series, all won by the Canucks.

Bolland has made a lot of progress in his recovery from the concussion in recent weeks, but said on Sunday it's been the most frustrating injury of his career.

Chicago is 0-17 all time when down 3-0 in a playoff series, and Quenneville was asked if there was any hesitancy to make the move now that there's such long odds of the Hawks coming back to win. He pointed to Bolland's personal quest to get back on the ice as a big reason for the potential return.

"You've got to like his competitive spirit, and I think the bottom line (is) he'll do anything he can to be a party of the team again and he's had some success against these guys," Quenneville said. "His role and his job description (are) important, and I think he welcomes that opportunity and that challenge. You get some enthusiasm (as a team) with him returning to our lineup, as well."

In other Blackhawks-related health news, Quenneville also said he was optimistic that forward Bryan Bickell (cut wrist) would play in game 4 and termed defenseman Brent Seabrook "likely" to play after being hit hard twice by Canucks forward Raffi Torres in Game 3.

Tomas Kopecky (upper body) was ruled out for Tuesday.
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