Let’s start this Friday afternoon with a quote from a Cinderella song, because we’re the only blog that’s going to do that type of stuff: “My gypsy road, will..” wait, not that one. Sorry. I figured this was about the only time I can work Cinderella into a post, so my mind wanted to squeeze one more in. My bad. Anyway: “Don’t know what you got, til it’s gone.” Sure, you can attribute that to a lot of people, but I said Cinderella and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, we all love Dave Bolland around here, for the most part (there are some who can’t ignore his salary, but I’m tired of trying to reach those people). We’ve been critical of him too, because there have been large swaths of games where he was hanging out with Harvey the Rabbit. But every time Bolland misses a large chunk of the season with an injury, only then is it apparent just how important he is. Or can be. And maybe that’s what frustrates some people, is knowing what a rare piece Bolland is at times, and then isn’t at others. But after this season, it’s hard to imagine there’s much debate.
|2010 – Dave Bolland
Is there a picture of Fabulous Weapon where he doesn’t look completely bewildered?
Contract Status: Three more years at a hit of 3.3 million
Positives: When Bolland finally woke up in December, his last 39 regular season games saw a haul of 33 points, which over a full season would be 69 points. That’s a fun game to play but not really relevant. There are two factors that make this a lot more impressive than it might sound. First, Bolland faced the second most difficult competition in the entire league, behind Nick Lidstrom (according to Behind The Net). Second, he did it while playing with the second worst quality of teammates on the team (Marian Hossa was first, and the explanations get a little clearer). And for those who remember, Bolland piled up these points while dragging Bryan Bickell and Fernando Pisani around most of the time. And that’s the thing about Bolland; whatever his faults he just seems to make people better. Whose wing did Kris Versteeg look better on, Bolland’s or Mike Richards’s? Martin Havlat? Ok, Andrew Ladd is probably the argument against this, but I think the point is valid. And when Weapon returned to the Canucks series, everything changed. The Sedins vanished into the ether, and the Hawks could hurt you from three lines again. It’s a totally different team with Bolland, and part of that is the snarl that only he brings seems to float throughout the team.
Negatives: Well, there was that first two months where Bolland was seemingly the poster boy for a team that had a poster in the dressing room stating, “And not a single fuck will be given this day.” He was nowhere. Five points until December 3rd. And we know it’s not linemates, because Bolland can play with crap and still produce. He was a drain on the PP’s second unit, a turnover waiting to happen. What if Bolland had been the Fabulous Weapon those first two months? How many more points would that have accrued? We’ll never know. The other big one is the concussion. These are things that don’t just go away. Bolland will always be at risk, especially considering the affection he seems to get from opponents due to his style of conversation. His injury also crippled the Hawks, who couldn’t replace him.
Defining Moment: You could go with Game 4 against the Canucks, as it was probably more important. But it doesn’t get any prettier than this, and it sparked a pretty hefty comeback against a Nashville team that is built to not let you come back. And that’s only Ryan Suter’s jock that ended up in the 300 Level
Does Bolland ever do anything that impresses himself?
Outlook: While there’s a small faction of Hawks fans that want Bolland shipped, they’re the decided minority, and none of them exist in Hawks management. Bolland is viewed as only slightly less vital than Toews, Seabrook, Kane, or Keith. And rightly so. How many players can shut out the opponents’ top guns while scoring themselves? It’s the kind of club that wouldn’t even check our ID’s before punting us outside the velvet rope. What the Hawks need to decide is what is Dave Bolland, a #2 or #3 center? If it’s the latter, it could be argued he’s the best in the league at that role. It may depend on what the Hawks can find outside this summer, or what they decide Patrick Sharp is. If Bolland is your third center though, then by definition you are one of the deeper teams down the middle in the league. That’s not to say Bolland couldn’t thrive at a #2 with the proper wingers, but why would you deprive yourself of one of the best checking centers in the league if you don’t have to?
Final Grade: B/B-. It’s hard to ignore the first two months of the year, but it’s also hard to ignore his contributions when the Hawks did look like a real team, and it’s hard to ignore how much he was missed and how much his return meant. Bolly has only completed one full season of his four attempts, so injuries will always be a concern. But his value certainly isn’t.