Blackhawks seek to close out series vs. Wild

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By Brian Hamilton Tribune reporter

Once again, Dave Bolland will not be playing Thursday as the Chicago Blackhawks attempt to close out the Wild in Game 5 at the United Center.

“I’m still day-by-day,” Bolland said. “It’s getting better. I just want to make sure it’s strong. I’m hopefully playing for that Round 2. I’ll keep on working at it and making sure it gets better.”

But evidently Bolland wouldn’t be contributing even if the Hawks’ situation was substantially more dire.

“If he’s healthy, he’d be playing,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

By the time the morning skate ended Thursday, there was little left to be said about the desperation or physicality or energy the Hawks must bring to the game that could vault them into the next round.

So what was left to discuss, again, was when Bolland and goaltender Ray Emery would be available for duty. Quenneville deemed both out for Thursday but otherwise “real close,” and in Emery’s case, Corey Crawford’s performance in goal in theory makes that a moot point.

But Bolland is the player with the gilded postseason history and the Hawks are a team that has Andrew Shaw clicking on a productive third line and Michal Handzus offering steady production as No. 2 center. The thought, then, was that he might be ready to go but the Hawks were being overly cautious given the 3-1 series lead.

As such, Bolland was asked if he’d be playing if this was a Game 7.

“It’s a 50-50 chance if it was do-or-die,” he said. “There are precautions that you have to take to do it. It’s playoff hockey. You have to be desperate.”

Where Bolland would fit, even if he was ready, is the next question.

“We got a couple options there, on a need basis whether he moves where he used to be or whether he could work his way up,” Quenneville said. “It’ll be a healthy decision, knowing him coming into our lineup gives us more depth, especially in the middle.”

Twitter @ChiTribHamilton

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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