After a practice skate over the weekend, it appears the Blackhawks will get one center back on the ice but could be without another for some times.
Captain Jonathan Toews was a full participant in practice and should return for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. He has been out since being hit on October 21 against Vancouver.
Dave Bolland, however, missed practice and was limited in his playing time in Phoenix. He did not play in Denver, and has struggled with a bad back for some time now, and it appears the injury could cost him games moving forward. Bolland missed the entire preseason because of the back issues, and it has become a big enough problem that the Hawks are now considering him missing time.
Ben Eager should also be back on the ice for the four-game homestand this week before the circus comes to town.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers has reported that Bolland’s injury could be more serious than the Blackhawks are letting on, and he might miss significant time. For now, though, the Hawks are plsying it close to the vest and are only looking at Bolland missing Monday’s game.
If Bolland misses significant time, he’ll join a growing list of Blackhawks to miss action this year because of injury. Toews, Eager, Marian Hossa and now Bolland were all viewed as key contributors for the 2009-10 season, but all have dealt with injuries already in the first quarter of the season.
Hossa just recently started practicing with the team in the last couple weeks after summer shoulder surgery.
Reports are that the Hawks were again playing roulette with their lines in practice this weekend, trying to fins healthy combinations that will be offensively effective.
Toews reportedly skated between Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp, while Kris Versteeg continues spending time at center between Andrew Ladd and Patrick Kane. John Madden slid back to their line, where he was playing with Troy Brouwer and Tomas Kopecky, while Colin Fraser was between Eager and Andrew Ebbett.
Fraser was especially spectacular on Friday night, winning nine of his ten faceoffs. Versteeg and Madden were also good in the circle. Ebbett has also played center for the Hawks after being acquired from Anaheim, and Kopecky has played center a little this year as well.