Brandon Bollig hasn’t been making a whole lot of noise. But that’s not a bad thing. The Chicago Blackhawks‘ winger only played in 24 games and five playoff games last season, but this season he’s played in every single one. The St. Charles, Mo. native has mostly been on the ice as an enforcer, but he’s beginning to grow as a player while everyone else focuses on his teammates. And that might benefit him in the long run.
As mentioned earlier, Bollig is mainly an enforcer. During the playoffs last season, he mainly filled in for the now-departed Viktor Stalberg on the wing during the playoffs. And in 43 regular-season appearances with the Blackhawks, Bollig had failed to record a single point. That changed in the Blackhawks’ season opener against the Washington Capitals, when he opened the scoring. Not a bad way of scoring your first regular-season goal!
Since then, Bollig has notched six more points, which included a goal on Mike Smith and the pesky Phoenix Coyotes, and rewritten his role as an enforcer. While he has gotten into the occasional fight, Bollig has focused more on his offensive and defensive contributions.
Part of his growth might be because he’s learned from now-retired Hawks winger Jamal Mayers. “He can skate,” Mayers told the media, adding that he’s smart and is gaining more and more confidence the longer he’s out on the ice. But Mayers also mentioned that Bollig knows he doesn’t have to drop the gloves as often as it seems most enforcers do.
Bollig might be big, slow and not much of a shooter, but he’s serving his role as best he can. With the approval of head coach Joel Quenneville, Bollig brings a physical presence to the role of a winger while growing as a potential goal-scorer. The rest of the media will focus on other players, but that doesn’t matter for Bollig. He’ll keep on contributing in his own way.