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Quenneville says Stalberg benching not related to dispute

Updated: May 17, 2013 3:40PM

Joel Quenneville refuted multiple reports Wednesday that Viktor Stalberg was benched for Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings because he complained about his lack of a role on the power play during the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.

A source said Tuesday that Stalberg had been benched for questioning his role after getting only one power play shift during the five-game series.

“That story’s 100 percent inaccurate,” Quenneville said. “Viktor didn’t play, he knows the reasons why. It has nothing to do with anything about our conversation. It was strictly nothing to do with that. At all. That situation wasn’t even addressed.”

Quenneville still did not elaborate on why Stalberg was benched, pointing out that with Dave Bolland re-entering the lineup after being out with an injury, “Somebody had to come out.”

He pointed to some of the tough decisions he’s had to make all year, particularly with the rotation of defenseman Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank throughout the regular season, as an example of players sitting despite deserving to play. Stalberg played 47 of 48 games this year, and all five against the Wild.

“This year we had some tough decisions as far as who plays and doesn’t play,” Quenneville said. “We had the rotation on our back end with Brooksie and Rozy ... every game one of them had to sit out. It was definitely unfair for those guys, but that’s the situation we’re in, where we have to make some tough decisions.”

Quenneville has been reluctant all season to tinker with his lineup after victories. When asked if Stalberg could be sitting out again for Saturday’s Game 2, all he said was, “We’ll see.”

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