CHICAGO – Brandon Bollig will join the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, replacing Viktor Stalberg on the fourth line.
The only change for either team is designed to bring some more physicality to a series that should have plenty of it.
“I think he’s pretty smart on knowing what he brings to our team,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We want him to play hard, smart, within the whistles (and) bring that element.”
That element involves using his six-foot-two, 223-pound frame against a big Bruins team that dispatched the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins without much difficulty to reach the final.
Bollig hasn’t played since May 5.
“It’s been a while,” Bollig said after the Blackhawks’ morning skate at United Center. “It’s a lot different, but we’ve all been there, maybe not in the final but we’ve all played playoff games. So I’m hoping to just hit the ground running here.”
Bollig is expected to skate with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.
“He’s a big guy and he can skate, he can hit,” Frolik said of Bollig.
This will be the 26-year-old’s eighth Stanley Cup playoff game. He had 21 penalty minutes in his first seven.
“Every little play is all the more important, and obviously we’re looking to stay out of the box,” Bollig said. “I think you definitely have to kind of find the line and maybe push the envelope, but not too far.”
Quenneville said discipline is a constant point of emphasis, and that doesn’t change with Bollig. Captain Jonathan Toews provided a prime example in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings of what can happen if a player loses his composure, taking three penalties in one period.
The Blackhawks would like Toews’ play measured in points, not penalty minutes. Quenneville mixed up his Game 1 lines, splitting up Toews and Patrick Kane to balance out his offence.
Bruins coach Claude Julien insisted Toews and Kane playing on separate lines doesn’t affect his team.
“We just have to react to it in a way whoever is on the ice,” Julien said. “We’ve said that before, whoever is on the ice has to be aware of the other team’s players on the ice.”
Boston isn’t making any changes for Wednesday night’s Game 1.