Duncan Keith and Michal Handzus did not practice on Friday but coach Joel Quenneville said both will be ready to go tomorrow when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
Keith is played a team-high 24 minutes, 19 seconds in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Wings on Wednesday night. As for Handzus, this is the third time this postseason he has not practiced; Quenneville said “he’s fine.” Ben Smith centered the Blackhawks’ second line during today’s practice.
Viktor Stalberg was once again practicing in a white jersey today. Asked if Stalberg could play in Game 2, Quenneville said, “we’ll see.”
Like Quenneville the day before, Stalberg said reports that he was benched for complaining about power-play time, or lack thereof, were “not accurate.” But for Stalberg, the on-ice limbo could continue through Saturday’s game and beyond. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, as he wraps up the final season of a two-year deal that pays him $875,000. But Stalberg didn’t think what was happening now would effect his status then.
“Whether I’m here next year or not, we’ll see what happens. That’s something we’ll take (up) after the year,” he said. “It’s nothing I’m really too concerned about at this point. We’ll figure that one out after, hopefully, we hoist the Cup here.”
Stalberg said he’s talked to Quenneville about what he has to do.
“It was kind of short and standard: be more intense out there and play harder. It’s nothing you’ve never heard before,” he said. “Nothing too different, but he wants me to produce more and be more effective out there. Hopefully when I get back in there I’ll try to make a difference.”