suntimes
DROPPING 
Weather Updates

Wednesday series start might result in 1 game in 9 days for Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Vs Detroit Red Wings. Chicago Blackhawks No.25 Viktor Stalberg battles with No.55 Niklas Kronwall  front Detroit Red

Chicago Blackhawks Vs Detroit Red Wings. Chicago Blackhawks No.25 Viktor Stalberg, battles with No.55 Niklas Kronwall in front of the Detroit Red Wings net. Friday 13, 2013 I Photo by Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 49180609
tmspicid: 17668754
fileheaderid: 7958164

Updated: May 14, 2013 3:14PM



Like many other people, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith figured the Western Conference semifinals would start Tuesday at the United Center. Instead,
Game 1 will be Wednesday, giving the Detroit Red Wings — who won Game 7 late Sunday in Anaheim, Calif. — an extra day to recuperate and prepare.

But the Hawks weren’t complaining that the schedule diminished any advantage they might have earned for beating the Minnesota Wild in a tidy five games.

“We’re all professionals, and to be ready on Tuesday or to be ready on Wednesday shouldn’t make a difference,” Keith said.

By the time the puck drops at 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Hawks will have gone six days between games. And with Game 2 reportedly pushed to Saturday (the Bulls have the UC reserved Friday for a potential Game 6 against the Miami Heat), they’ll have played just one game in nine days. A far cry from the usual brisk pacing of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Maybe there’s a little bit about us having more of a break, that we really need to be ready for Game 1. And maybe on the other hand, they’ll be just in the flow of things and cruising right out of Game 7,” Jonathan Toews said. “I don’t think it really matters. They’re going to be prepared to play, and we have to do the same.”

Stalberg in doghouse

At practice Monday, Brandon Saad was back in his usual spot on Toews’ left wing on the top line after wearing a white jersey and skating outside the top four lines Saturday. But Viktor Stalberg was again in a white jersey, again skating with the so-called fifth line. Rookie Ben Smith took his place on the third line. Stalberg had one assist and a plus-2 rating against the Wild.

When asked if Stalberg would even play in Game 1, all coach Joel Quenneville said was, “We’ll see.”

Handzus out

Michal Handzus sat out practice; Quenneville called it a “maintenance day.” In his place, Dave Bolland — likely to be on the third line for Game 1 — skated in his old spot at second-line center.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.