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Dave Bolland might return to spot on third line

Winger BrandSaad knows he has step up his game after subpar series against Wild. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Winger Brandon Saad knows he has to step up his game after a subpar series against the Wild. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 13, 2013 7:28PM



Center Dave Bolland will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. So the question no longer is when he will play but where he will play.

While Bolland has been out with a groin injury since April 22, Michal Handzus has taken the second-line center role and run with it. Bolland might be headed back to his old role on the third line, even if it means breaking up the successful grouping of Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg.

‘‘We love tough decisions,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We’ll visit with that over the next couple of days. But we look forward to having [Bolland] in the lineup and looking at other options.’’

Bolland said it’s not up to him where he plays. But after an up-and-down season between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, he sounded like a guy who’s more comfortable in the irritant/agitator checking-line role he played so well in recent seasons.

‘‘I’ve been successful on the third line,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s sort of been my thing. This year’s been an up-and-down roller coaster for me. But I think that’s in the past and this is now, so I have to concentrate on the playoffs. That’s where I’ve played, and that’s where I’ve had most of my success.’’

Sending a message

Wingers Brandon Saad and Stalberg were out of the four-line rotation for practice Saturday, wearing the dreaded white jerseys. Stalberg skated on the ‘‘fifth line’’ with Jamal Mayers and Brandon Bollig, and Saad skated with defensemen Ryan Stanton and Sheldon Brookbank.

Saad had only one point in the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, and Quenneville said after practice he wanted him to ‘‘keep it simple.’’ Saad said he got the message.

‘‘Even without him saying anything, I know my play wasn’t at my best,’’ Saad said. ‘‘I’ve got to get better each game, each round. . . . I’m motivated, for sure. Not playing your best is something you use as motivation, really.’’

Emery back

Backup goalie Ray Emery also will be back for Game 1 of the conference semifinals, which will be played Tuesday or Wednesday at the United Center. He hasn’t dressed since aggravating a lower-body injury April 24.



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