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Bolland tries to stay positive amid concussion

by Dan Rosen
VANCOUVER -- Chicago center Dave Bolland is doing everything he can to stay positive as he tries to recover from a concussion, even going as far to speak with Blackhawks mental skills coach James F. Gary about keeping negativity out of his mind.

Bolland, though, has not been cleared for contact yet and didn't make it sound like he was anywhere close when he met with reporters outside the Blackhawks dressing room at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

"It's awareness," Bolland said. "Your awareness is the big one. Just playing 2-on-2 out there with the guys, you're still looking around and you're not sure where the guy is or where he's coming from. That's probably the big one, my awareness. That's one I have to be cautious about."

Bolland's unexpected speedy progress over the last week-plus gave the Blackhawks hope that he might be able to return in the series against the Canucks, a team he has played some of his best hockey against in the last two postseasons.

It was not surprising that he was a no-go for Game 1 Wednesday and it's not even that much of a shock that he's not going to play in Game 2 on Friday. But it sounds as if Bolland's progress has stalled and now he remains very much in doubt for the rest of the series.

When asked if he feels better Thursday than he did Wednesday, Bolland could not say yes.

"We'll see," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Progress was encouraging and right now we'll continue to see how we assess it."

"Sometimes you'll feel great and sometimes you won't feel as great. Everything with this is a slow process," Bolland said. "I want to be back soon. I talked to our mental skills coach and he's great. He's always keeping me positive and trying to not let me veer off that path of getting into that negative route to be like, 'This isn't good. I'm not coming back. When is this going to change? What's going to happen here?' I think with me being positive and staying in that positive frame of mind is going to help me."

Bolland has been working with a chiropractor to help the stiffness in his neck, which is a result of the whiplash he received from the Kubina hit. He also works with massage therapists.

"Whatever I can do to up this progress," Bolland said. "It is a slow process. It stinks. I dread for guys that go through this, because it's probably the worst thing ever."

Bolland skated again Thursday while the healthy Blackhawks stayed off the ice and just did some dry land workouts and held meetings. He said skating helps keep him in a positive frame of mind.

"I sat around for two or three weeks and I think that was the worst thing I've done," Bolland said. "You do nothing. You sit around. You can't watch TV. You can't text any of your friends. You can't go outside because if you go outside the sirens, the horns, everything is moving and you just want to run back in your house. Getting back on the ice and getting my heartbeat up and doing everything I can with all of the therapy, that's the best."

But will it be enough to get Bolland back to the Blackhawks in this series?

"It's still day by day," he said. "We'll see how it goes."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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