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Viktor Stalberg still not skating among top four lines in practice

Updated: June 16, 2013 6:28AM

Winger Viktor Stalberg again found himself in a white jersey Tuesday, skating outside the top four lines for the third consecutive practice. And he wasn’t in much of a mood to discuss it.

‘‘I don’t really have anything to say about it,’’ he said. ‘‘Ask Q.’’

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday that Stalberg and winger Brandon Saad needed to pick up their play. But Saad was in the white jersey for only one day, while Stalberg has yet to be freed from it. Quenneville and Stalberg haven’t discussed his status for the series opener Wednesday against the
Detroit Red Wings yet.

‘‘Stay ready,’’ Quenne-
ville said of his message to Stalberg. ‘‘Nobody said he’s out of the lineup. Make
decisions tough on us.’’

Stalberg had one assist and a plus-2 rating in the Hawks’ first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. When asked to assess his own play, he said curtly: ‘‘We won 4-1, right? So that’s good.’’

Rockford call-up Ben Smith has been skating with the top four lines in Stalberg’s stead for the last few practices. He was in Stalberg’s spot on the third line Monday and skated in Michal Handzus’ spot at second-line center Tuesday. Quenneville said Hand-
zus is fine and will play in Game 1, so Smith and Stalberg are up in the air.

Smith scored three goals in the Hawks’ first-round playoff loss to the Vancouver Canucks in 2011.

‘‘I’m ready if called upon,’’ Smith said. ‘‘It’d be exciting. . . . You never know what can happen. I’m always prepared. At some point, hopefully it’ll happen and I’ll be ready to go.’’

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