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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks’ Brandon Bollig is Having a Breakout Year

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

If there was a contender for goal of the year, most people would suggest any goal by Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, or maybe something from the New York IslandersKyle Okposo or perhaps the Chicago BlackhawksPatrick Kane. But maybe they’re not considering a goal by a Blackhawks big guy by the name of Brandon Bollig. He scored from an impossible angle against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 19, beating Tuukka Rask. To some, it was a surprise. To others, including Bollig himself, perhaps not so much.

Bollig was featured in an article I wrote earlier in the season. Prior to this year, Bollig was strictly an enforcer, and didn’t really score a whole lot of goals. This year, however, he’s had five goals and five assists for a total of 10 points. In essence, this could be considered a breakout year. So, what’s his secret?

“I spent some time in Chicago [during the offseason] working on my game,” he told me (not verbatim) at a question and answer event I was attending. “The game is changing, so I needed to work out.”

What Bollig means is that because enforcers are starting to become obsolete, he needed to improve his offense. As shown by the goal and the total points he’s scored, it’s obvious that Bollig is starting to find offensive rhythm. It’s a very welcome development for the guy, who’s been one of the quieter players on the team (in terms of production and role on the team). He still gets into a few fights every now and then, but he’s focusing a bit more on his offense. Speaking of which, he hasn’t had a fighting major since Dec. 8 against Krys Barch of the Florida Panthers.

Bollig is one of the players on the Blackhawks who has been able to step up with the departure of a few players from the 2013 team. He’s also one of the more well-known of those players. For Bollig, he’s having what is essentially a breakout season. His offensive production has gone up, he’s getting noticed and he’s been shutting down his opponents with his size. Every team needs a role player, and Brandon Bollig is one of them. But this year, he’s making the transition into a solid workman. And that can only benefit not only him, but the team as well.

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+.