ST. LOUIS --
It will be a homecoming Tuesday night for Chicago Blackhawks
enforcer Brandon Bollig
, whose recall last week came just in time.
Bollig, who was called up from the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs last week, was born and raised in nearby St. Charles and is a product of Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles. This is the first time as an NHL he will play in his home state.
"Not only am I living a dream playing with the Hawks right now and getting my first crack in the NHL, but I'm lucky enough to come here to St. Louis and playing in front of my hometown crowd," said Bollig, who has seven penalty minutes in three games. "I'm pretty excited. I've got a lot of people coming and I can't wait to get going."
Growing up, Bollig began skating in nearby Creve Coeur (Mo.) before the St. Peters Rec Plex got a program of its own. He tried out for the Triple-A Junior Blues, then went on to play Junior-A and onto Rockford before getting his chance with the Blackhawks after they dealt away popular John Scott
at the NHL Trade Deadline.
"I think I was more nervous when I thought about playing in front of my home crowd, but now that it's actually time to do it, I'm sure once game time comes around, I'll be a little bit nervous," Bollig said. "Hopefully I just look at it as another game and kind of take it as that."
Bollig said there will be 50-plus people in attendance Tuesday night, but he didn't have to purchase the entire ticket count.
The streaky Blackhawks, who have won three, lost nine, won four, lost three and now won three since Jan. 15, have made the necessary adjustments without captain Jonathan Toews
(upper-body) in the lineup.
Toews will miss his eighth consecutive game Tuesday, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
likes how his team has come together, particularly Patrick Kane
, who has four goals and four assists in the past 10 games.
"You miss a lot without Johnny in the lineup," Quenneville said. "We talk about Kaner, he's absorbed a lot of that responsibility here recently. We're coming off two of our better games in sequence all year being on the road. Playing that solid team game gives us a good chance without Johnny around. It's the way we have to play to be successful.
"There's some positive things in our game recently that we like. We keep rooting for Johnny to get back here, but in his absence, Kaner has really stepped up."
Chicago is on the last of a three-game trip that has seen them win a pair of 2-1 games.