Ben Smith will watch Ducks-Kings as a fan and scout
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter May 15, 2014 10:11PM
Updated: May 15, 2014 11:26PM
Like most of the Blackhawks, Ben Smith will be watching Friday night as the Ducks and Kings face off in a Game 7 to determine who advances to the Western Conference final. But not just to get a scouting report on the Hawks’ next opponent.
“I’ll watch as a fan, I guess,” he said. “Maybe a little bit of both — watch as a fan, but also try to take away a couple of things and watch the power plays and penalty kills. But mostly, just to watch a good hockey game. They’ve had six quality hockey games so far. I’ve had a chance to watch most of them, and I’m sure Game 7 will be exciting, as well.”
The Hawks were careful not to make any predictions or declare any preferences Thursday. As Brandon Saad said, “Be careful what you wish for.”
But if the Kings win, the Hawks will have home-ice advantage, and the series will begin at the United Center on Sunday afternoon. If the Ducks win, the Hawks won’t have home ice and will have to fly to Anaheim on Saturday for an awfully quick turnaround.
“That’s part of it,” coach Joel Quenneville said with a shrug. “We’ve had a very light travel schedule in the first two rounds. In the Western Conference, there’s generally a lot more than what we’ve gone through.”
The Hawks were 2-0-1 against the Ducks this season and 3-0 against the Kings.
“You know what, that’s the regular season,” Marian Hossa said. “The playoffs are a little bit different. You can’t rely on what happened back a few months ago.”
Quenneville said he expects Andrew Shaw — who has been out since suffering an apparent leg injury in Game 1 against the Wild — to start skating this weekend.
He expects Shaw to play at some point in the series.
“He’s excited; he’s itching to get back on the ice,” Bryan Bickell said. “He’s a big part of our team, and what he brings to the team — he’s truly missed. Hopefully, we get him back as soon as possible.”
The Hawks and WGN announced a three-year contract extension that will keep 20 games on free TV (Channel 9 in Chicago, not WGN America) through the 2018-19 season.