CALGARY, Alberta — Brandon Bollig has two fights this season. So does Jonathan Toews. A showdown between these two heavyweight enforcers seems inevitable.
“Everyone’s been asking,” Bollig said with a laugh. “I asked him last game. He said yes, and I kind of backed down. I got scared. I didn’t want to get beat up by one of the best players in the league. Maybe tonight, I’ll muster up the courage.”
Of course, the former Hawks winger and 2013 Stanley Cup champion has more pressing issues to deal with, as his Calgary Flames — last year’s surprise team — is in sixth place in the weak Pacific Division with a 7-12-1 record. Last year’s run to the second round of the playoffs defied most projections and advanced stats, and this season’s regression seems similar to Colorado’s last year.
“I definitely don’t have the answers as to what happened, or else I think we’d be in a better spot,” Bollig said. “We surprised a lot of people, we flew under the radar of a lot of teams last year, and had a lot of third-period comebacks and late goals that helped us out a lot. Making the playoffs, making the second round was a huge surprise for a lot of people. But we knew what we had in this room. This year, we were hoping to duplicate that with a good start, and obviously that hasn’t happened.”
One bright spot has been another member of the 2013 Hawks, Michael Frolik, whom the Flames signed as a free agent from Winnipeg. Frolik has four goals and eight assists through 20 games, playing big minutes for Calgary. It’s quite a contrast from the role he had in Chicago in 2013, as a penalty-killing ace and shutdown fourth-liner.
“It’s obviously more fun when you get a little more ice time and the role is a little bit bigger,” Frolik said. “For sure, it’s more fun. I’ve tried to enjoy it, and I’ve changed teams a few times so it’s always something new. I’m starting to settle down here and I think it’s been good so far.”
Frolik still keeps in touch with his old teammates, and was watching last spring when they won the Cup again.
“You think about it a little bit, how you could maybe still be there if the trade didn’t happen, but hockey life is like that,” Frolik said. “I was happy for the boys and it’s amazing what they did there.”
NOTE: Marko Dano is sick and will miss tonight’s game against Calgary. With Dano and Teuvo Teravainen (upper-body injury) out, Andrew Desjardins and Viktor Tikhonov return to the lineup.