CHICAGO -- After watching the player they affectionately nicknamed "The Rat" pester opposing stars into poor performances the past few seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks will now get to live the other side of the Dave Bolland experience.
He and his new teammates on the Toronto Maple Leafs are in Chicago for a game Saturday at United Center (7 p.m. ET, CBC, NHLN-US), which will be Bolland's first game against his former team.
Center - TOR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 14 | +/-: 2
Bolland helped Chicago win a pair of Stanley Cups, including last season, when he scored the series-clinching goal in the third period of Game 6 against the Boston Bruins
"I think coming back into the old UC [United Center], the emotions are running high," Bolland said hours before puck drop. "With everything that went on here for the past seven or eight years, it'll be good. It'll be fun."
Of course, "fun" will depend on perspective. Few opponents who have faced Bolland at his irritating best have described the experience as fun. Now it's the Blackhawks' turn to experience Bolland's version of "fun."
Bolland was traded to Toronto about a week after scoring the Cup-clinching goal. He holds the same basic role with the Maple Leafs that he did for most of his Chicago career, centering the third line, hounding opposing stars and chipping in offensively.
The Blackhawks said they're wise to Bolland's best tricks to get under their skin, though, and Bolland agreed. He even went out to dinner with a couple of his ex-teammates Friday, including Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. Once the puck drops, however, friends will become opponents in a blink.
"[I'm] pretty sure being around the guys for a long time, we all know each other's little tricks," Bolland said. "It'll be good."
Bolland, who got his Stanley Cup championship ring during a recent trip to Nashville, comes into the game with three goals and three assists in eight games. Still, he views his role as similar to the one he held during the majority of his time in Chicago -- a shift-disturbing, defense-first checker more than a scorer.
"Things are going well," Bolland said of his early offensive output. "Things are clicking. Things are going the right way for me. [We're] almost using some of the same roles that I played here in Chicago, but I think some situations, it's almost [exactly] the same."