Bolland waiting for a clear head

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:25 PM ET

The better Dave Bolland feels, the more it hurts.

The concussion symptoms that have shut him down since March 9 are lifting and he is almost ready to return to the Chicago Blackhawks lineup.

But the playoffs wait for no one -- Game 1 came and went without him and there's nothing he can take to ease that kind of pain.

"It does get frustrating when everyone's getting ready for this," said Bolland, who finally has been cleared to skate -- no contact yet -- and isn't expected back until Game 3 at the earliest in Chicago's first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

"Once we knew we'd be playing Vancouver ... I wish I felt better and was ready to play the first game."

Why wouldn't he? The playoffs are his time and the Canucks are his team. His checking and chirping drove the Sedin brothers batty last year, helping to hold them to three goals in six games, a big reason Chicago won the series.

"It was physical, mental, everything, everything was in the mix, anything you can do to get in their heads," Bolland said. "Those are two great players, world-class players, I like playing against them."

Were it not for a Pavel Kubina elbow (that resulted in a three-game suspension for the Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman), Bolland would be knee-deep in a rematch with the twins. Instead, the past month has been a long, quiet battle with post-concussion symptoms.

"It was headaches, and I was hazy and foggy," Bolland said. "I couldn't drive. I couldn't really do much. It was just sitting around my house doing nothing. Just a walk downtown or a walk somewhere to do something was an adventure.

"It's a drain to your body, a drain to your mind. It's depressing. I didn't want to do anything.

"You get pretty worried because you never know when you're going to snap out of it. Every morning, I'd wake up and hope that was the day (he felt better). It never went away.

"It was very tough. I could feel for (Sidney) Crosby and other guys who've had it. It's a tough time and I'm glad I'm over that hump."

He called it "luck or something" that his symptoms started to clear up as the playoffs approached. Maybe it was the mere thought of taking on the Sedins again.

"I think last Sunday was the day when I sort of snapped out of it, the headaches and everything," he said. "I still feel a little bit of haze. Whenever I feel great, whenever I feel that my mind and head is back, (that) is when I'll be out there."

Like Bolland, the Canucks' Raffi Torres also is idled. He won't be back until Game 3 after drawing a suspension for a head shot on Edmonton Oiler Jordan Eberle. Torres got a four-game suspension, including the final two regular-season games.

"It's tough sitting and watching, but you just have to deal with it," Torres said. "It's unfortunate, it's too bad, but I accept it.

"All I can do is support the guys the best I can and wait till I can get back in."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

TWITTER.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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