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Stalberg's status for Game 1 still up in the air for Blackhawks

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For the third straight practice, Viktor Stalberg found himself in a white jersey, skating outside the top four lines. 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 on Saturday that both Saad and Stalberg needed to pick up their play. But Saad was in the white jersey for just one day, while Stalberg has yet to be freed from it. Quenneville and Stalberg haven't discussed his status for Wednesday's Game 1 yet.

"Stay ready," Quenneville said was his message to Stalberg. "Nobody said he's out of the lineup. Make decisions tough on us. ... We'll address the situation when the time is right."

Stalberg had one assist and a plus-2 rating in the first round against Minnesota. When asked to assess his own play, he curtly said, "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 the past few practices. He was in Stalberg's spot on the third line on Monday, and skated in Michal Handzus' spot at second-line center Tuesday. Quenneville said Handzus is "fine" and will play in Game 1, so Smith and Stalberg are both up in the air.

Smith had three goals in the Hawks' first-round loss to Vancouver 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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Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.



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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on May 14, 2013 1:23 PM.

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