Chicago Sun-Times

Why John Scott over Jack Skille?

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skille.jpgLike others, I thought it was interesting -- or puzzling -- when John Scott remained in the lineup Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Skille was a healthy scratch.

Skille's speed was very noticeable, especially when he and Viktor Stalberg were on the ice together. Scott's role changed and his ice time decreased. He took only three shifts as a replacement forward against the Blue Jackets Friday with Patrick Kane out sick and defenseman Jassen Culllimore recalled.

But it was Scott's main role, as the Hawks' tough guy, that was the main factor in coach Joel Quenneville's decision to play him against the Sabres on Saturday. (See video below).

''There are certain lineups in games where there's more of an effectiveness with toughness,'' Quenneville said. ''Every game's different. You can never foresee what's going to happen, but there was a little history going into this game.''

That "little history" included some tough statements from the Sabres a few days before the game after Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson's jarring hit on forward Jason Pominville Monday in Buffalo.

Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta was very vocal about Hjalmarsson's hit and had pledged to ''make a point." Pominville is out indefinitely with a concussion. Hjalmarsson received a two-game suspension, which ended Saturday and fittingly allowed him to take the ice against the Sabres.

But all of it was overblown. Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said the Sabres took "a few runs" at Hjalmarssson. But there were no scraps, only a bunch of trash-talking. Scott played 6:07 Saturday and did not get into a fight, only a few shoving matches.

Looking ahead and once Brian Campbell returns to the lineup, it looks like Scott's playing time will be sporadic. Cullimore appears to have won over Quenneville and Co. for the time being. Jordan Hendry is also in the mix, following the assignment of rookie Nick Leddy to the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on October 17, 2010 1:49 PM.

Jassen Cullimore in for the Blackhawks; Kane out sick was the previous entry in this blog.

Jack Skille upbeat after being a healthy scratch is the next entry in this blog.

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