BOSTON — Tonight will mark the first-ever NHL game for Minnesota forward Krys Kolanos back in Boston.
The former Boston College star scored the game-winning overtime goal for the Eagles in the 2001 NCAA championship game. And tonight he’ll get to square off with his former Eagles linemate Chuck Kobasew when the Wild visit the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
“It’s giving me a chill right now just thinking about it,” Kolanos told thebruinsblog.net after his team’s morning skate. “He’s my old linemate and we had a great year there together, nine years ago or whatever. So it’s special to be back here.”
Kolanos enjoyed two solid years at BC before he turned pro. His NHL career, however, has been a roller coaster. He was a first-round draft pick of Phoenix in 2000, but he’s struggled to live up to those early expectations, particularly in light of a concussion-causing hit he took from Vaclav Varada in ’02. Prior to this season, he accumulated just 115 games of NHL service and none since the 2005-06 season. But health-wise, Kolanos is doing fine and — knock on wood — he hasn’t had any concussion-related problems since his full-time return to active duty in the 2003-04 season.
Having struggled with the results of a head injury — one of the most frustrating things a hockey player can experience — has made Kolanos more appreciative of his opportunities at the pro level. And he also knows what Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is going through right now, as the star sits out with his second concussion in as many seasons.
“Yeah, I see a guy like that, I know exactly what he’s going through. But time does heal all wounds, as they say,” Kolanos said.