Wednesday series start might result in 1 game in 9 days for Blackhawks
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com May 13, 2013 10:47PM
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
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.”
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.