Hawks' Bollig learns from suspension

Brandon Bollig is ready to play in the Western Conference final after serving his two-game suspension. Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- The Stanley Cup playoffs have been like a classroom for Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig this season.

Bollig first felt he learned something from being made a healthy scratch by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville against the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of their second-round series. Bollig's second lesson came when he was suspended two games for his hit on Wild defenseman Keith Ballard in Game 4.

“Of course, [I learned from the suspension,]” Bollig said after practice on Thursday. “Obviously, you know it’s definitely not ideal that the guy got hurt, and I wasn’t looking to hurt anyone. I don’t think anyone’s out there to hurt anyone. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Bollig wouldn’t say whether he believed the suspension was fair.

“I don’t really have a comment,” Bollig said. “I’m not really part of the safety department. I guess they had their reasons and I served my time.”

The time away was hard on Bollig, but he was pleased the Blackhawks won both games without him. He’s eligible to return to the Blackhawks’ lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday. He skated with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith on the fourth line during practice on Thursday.

“It means a lot [to be back,]” Bollig said. “Obviously it’s tough watching the team rather than playing in the game. But obviously we had two great games for us, and the outcome that we wanted.

"It’s not ideal to have to have to sit out and watch your team play two games in a row, but the fact that’s over with and I’m excited to be back and have a new lease on things, it brings that excitement back.”