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Hawks' Bolland ready to go against Stars

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO – Whatever upper-body ailment was keeping Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland out of the lineup is evidently a thing of the past.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said that Bolland – who missed the final two preseason games and Friday night's season-opener – will be playing in Saturday night's home opener at the United Center against the Dallas Stars.

Bolland centers Chicago's third line between wingers Michael Frolik on the left and Bryan Bickell on the right. It's predominantly a checking line that goes against opposing teams' top forwards, but the trio also caught fire at both ends of the ice in last spring's first-round playoff loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

After the Hawks dropped the first three games to the Canucks in that series, Bolland returned from a severe concussion for Game 4 and sparked Chicago to three straight wins – forcing an unlikely Game 7 in Vancouver that was ultimately decided in overtime.

Asked if Bolland was 100 percent healthy or just "ready to go" for this game, Quenneville quipped: "He's 100 percent and ready to go."

Bolland has struggled to stay healthy the past couple seasons, with last year's concussion being the most recent concern. He also missed a large chunk of the 2010 season after having back surgery. Both Quenneville and Bolland said the recent upper body injury was separate from those issues.

The Hawks also called up rookie center Marcus Kruger from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Saturday and sent down rookie center Brandon Pirri. Kruger will center Chicago's fourth line on Saturday night.

The Stars will also have a couple of tweaks to their lineup from the one that downed the Hawks 2-1 on Friday night. Former Blackhawks forward Adam Burish, who's been fighting a groin injury, will be put into the lineup on the fourth line, which is centered by former Blackhawks center Jake Dowell.

In goal the Stars will go with back-up Andrew Raycroft over starter Kari Lehtonen, who came 13.6 seconds from shutting out Chicago on Friday.
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