– The Vancouver Canucks
will get what many believed to be their wish when they face the Chicago Blackhawks
in the Western Conference Quarterfinals that start this week.
However, if that's the case they might want to be careful what they wish for. Chicago's "anti-Sedin" remedy, a.k.a. center Dave Bolland
, appears to be getting closer to returning from a concussion that's kept him out a month.
"He made major progress this week," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville
said. "We'll continue to monitor that progress. It's been positive recently. It was a tough road over the last month or so, but things changed quickly. I don't have anything more to report or prognosticate, but we hope that he's able to be a part of the first round – and be a part of it early in this series."
Bolland has been out since taking an elbow to the side of his head from Pavel Kubina
on Mar. 9 in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning
. He just got back on the ice for a light practice on Saturday, but didn't speak to the media afterward.
Last season, Bolland played a key role in Chicago's 4-2 series win against Vancouver in the Western Conference Semifinals. Centering the third line, he helped pester the Canucks' top line – which consists of superstar twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin
Expect Bolland to get that same assignment if he's healthy enough to play in this series. Quenneville was asked if Bolland would travel with the Hawks to Vancouver on Monday, but didn't answer.
"He is a special player," Quenneville said. "He means a lot to our team and gives us a lot of options as far as checking match-ups and special teams. So, we'll see how he is."
Also hurting right now is power forward Troy Brouwer
(shoulder), who got hurt last week against the Montreal Canadiens
when he launched himself into the corner trying to make a big hit and missed his target – plopping to the ice awkwardly.
Brouwer, who leads the Hawks with 262 hits, missed the weekend home-and-home series against the Detroit Red Wings
to conclude the regular season – and is questionable to play against the Canucks. Brouwer is also from Vancouver originally, so he'll have even more incentive to try and get healthy quickly.
"He's going to travel with us," Quenneville said. "We hope he's a part of it. Nobody would like to play in the Vancouver series more than Brouwer and we're hoping that he can be (in there)."