By Adam Hoge-
UNITED CENTER (CBS) Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg failed to get out head coach Joel Quenneville’s doghouse in time for the start of the Western Conference Semifinals and will not play in Game 1 against the Red Wings Wednesday night.
Quenneville called it a “coach’s decision” and confirmed Stalberg is not hurt and did not break any team rules.
“I had a conversation with him, so he knows how it stands,” the head coach said. “We’ll leave it at that.”
With Stalberg out, Andrew Shaw is expected to be kicked out to the wing on the third line with Daniel Carcillo getting the last spot on the fourth line. Michal Handzus was back on the second line during Wendesday’s morning skate after two maintenance days, which means Dave Bolland is primed for a return as the third-line center.
“Nice to have Bolly back,” Quenneville said. “I think he brings that intangible, reliable guy in the middle of the ice, checks well, plays hard, seems to elevate his game in the playoffs. He’s excited and we’re excited about having him back as well.”
When asked if Stalberg can work his way back into the lineup during this series, Quenneville said: “Absolutely. Things change in our business quickly, whether it’s health or decisions based on play, so we’ll visit it as we go along.”
With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference next season, the only time the Blackhawks and Wings can meet in the playoffs in the future is the Stanley Cup Final.
“We don’t mind playing them in the playoffs going forward,” Quenneville said with a smile. “It would be a situation where we’d be very happy playing them in the playoffs.”
Babcock Loves Blackhawks’ Rebuilding
Red Wings head coach Mike Babock is a big fan of how the Blackhawks built their 2010 Stanley Cup winner and how they’ve rebuilt for a run this season.
See if you can follow this compliment:
“If you do a good job when you’re a bad team and you draft real well, you can ride that for probably eight to ten years,” Babcock said. “It’s just you got to be careful to be bad enough long enough so you get good enough. You may laugh at that and your fans don’t want to hear that, but if you get good too fast, you’re never going to be good enough. If you stay bad enough long enough in the new world, you have a chance to be real good and that’s what they did.”
As for the Blackhawks’ rebuild after winning the Cup:
“When the Hawks did it on their recycle, they did a real good job of trading and acquiring more assets and allowing themselves to again be in a good position. So good for them.”
Here is how the Blackhawks’ lines looked at Wednesday’s morning skate:
1st line: Brandon Saad — Jonathan Toews — Marian Hossa
2nd line: Patrick Sharp — Michal Handzus — Patrick Kane
3rd line: Bryan Bickell — Dave Bolland — Andrew Shaw
4th line: Daniel Carcillo — Marcus Kruger — Michael Frolik
For more Blackhawks coverage throughout the playoffs, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHoge).