Blackhawks center Dave Bolland delivered the first big hit of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings, and it may get him in trouble.
"He was there," Bolland said of his jarring hit on Kings center Mike Richards in the final minutes of the Hawks' 2-1 victory in Game 1 at the United Center on Saturday. "I just came in and hit him."
But there could be repercussions. The principal point of contact was Richards' head. Richards was playing the puck behind goalie Corey Crawford and abruptly stopped to try to stuff it past Crawford. And that's when Bolland struck. His shoulder makes contact with Richards' head. It can also be argued that Bolland left his feet when making the hit.
"It's a quick game," Bolland said when asked if he felt his hit was clean. "It's a hard-hitting game here. It's just the way it is. It's the way the game goes. You get hit. It happens. It's happened to me."
Richards declined to speak to the media after the game. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he didn't see the play. Richards looked shaky and dazed as he made his way back to the Kings' bench.
"Couldn't see anything," Sutter said. "Clearly behind the net, behind the goalie. Guys changing. Really couldn't see it."
Bolland wasn't penalized for his hit on Richards. Play continued and Bolland drew a tripping penalty on Richards' linemate Jeff Carter seconds later, giving the Hawks a power play to cap off their Game 1 victory.