With the season now finished, I’ll be reviewing the individual performances of Chicago Blackhawks players and giving out grades based on their play during the 2013-14 season. Here, we’ll take a look at Brandon Bollig.
The beginning of Bollig’s season was quite a surprise to many Blackhawks fans. He was clearly faster than ever before (although to be fair, that isn’t saying much) and looked much more comfortable with the puck than he had in the past. He scored the first goal of Chicago’s season, and ended the 82-game campaign with a fairly respectable seven goals and seven assists.
Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. Bollig’s improvements seemed to disappear altogether around the Olympic break, and he reverted back to being the outright 5-on-5 liability he had been in prior seasons. The newfound offensive game went missing as well; including the playoffs, Bollig registered one point in his last 33 games of the year.
It didn’t help matters that Joel Quenneville stubbornly insisted on dressing Bollig over and over again despite his evident on-ice difficulties. Paradoxically, Quenneville nevertheless seemed well aware of Bollig’s limitations, often keeping his ice time below 6-7 minutes each game. Other forwards picked up the minutes that Bollig couldn’t play, certainly adding to a fatigue factor that seemed to plague the Blackhawks for most of the season.
Bollig ended the year on a low note, playing just two minutes and 28 seconds in the Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. His contributions through October, November, and December keep me from handing him an F, but it’d be tough to justify anything higher than a D.