When Blackhawks center Dave Bolland obliterated his stick along the bench before limping off the ice and into the dressing room in Vancouver on Friday night, he feared his season might be over.
"I don't think it would have been that bad if it was an 82-game year, but with 48 games, if anything would be broken it could mean the whole season," Bolland said, explaining his reaction.
Turns out nothing was broken, and it was "just a bad bruise" on his lower leg. Bolland, who sat out against Calgary on Saturday night, was back on the ice for Monday's practice at HP Pavilion here in San Jose, and is "likely" going to be back in the lineup Tuesday night against the Sharks, who enter tonight's game in Anaheim one point behind the Hawks for No. 1 in the league.
"We'll see," Bolland said with a wry smile. "That's what the boss says, right?"
Bolland, as the Hawks' checking-line center, has traditionally gotten plenty of ice time against the Sharks' dynamic top line of Joe Thornton (14 points), Patrick Marleau (league-high nine goals -- all of them in the first five games) and Joe Pavelski. Now that he's centering the second line with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, Bolland's role could be different.
"We'll see," Quenneville said. "Could be a number of lines who want to play against them tomorrow. We haven't worried about too many matchups this year -- just a group of five, and whoever you're playing against. I'm sure everyone will get a taste of [the top line], and we'll see how it works out."
Also returning to the lineup at San Jose will be goaltender Corey Crawford. Backup Ray Emery was otherworldly in his 45-save (plus three shootout stops) performance in a 3-2 shootout win over Calgary. Quenneville said "there's a good chance" Emery will get another start at Phoenix on Thursday. Emery beat the Coyotes 6-4 in a relatively shaky performance in the second game of the season.
"It was an outstanding performance," Quenneville said of Emery's gem in Calgary. "It was fun to watch. But then again, it wasn't that much fun."