Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/3/2014 1:02 AM

Versteeg a stunning healthy scratch again

Success - Article sent! close

The "from out of the blue" moment of the night had to be the late scratch of Kris Versteeg from the Game 1 lineup, replaced by Joakim Nordstrom.

This shocker came on the heels of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's decision to sit Versteeg for the final game of the St. Louis series.

"Yeah, that's obviously tough," Versteeg said about having to be a spectator for Game 6 against St. Louis. "I'd be lying to you if you say that you don't want to be out there helping the team."

That was followed by Quenneville and Versteeg talking it out, and it looking for all the world that they were on the same page heading into the Minnesota series.

"We're looking for more speed, more directness in attack," Quenneville said. "I think he was coming on at the end of the year and we're going to need him as we go along here."

The last two days at practice, at Friday's morning skate and even in the warmup to Game 1, Versteeg was skating on a line with Brandon Bollig and Michal Handzus.

Gotta do better:

From the very start of their series with the Blues, Joel Quenneville was adamant about the Blackhawks not taking too many penalties.

It didn't really work out that way as the Hawks were whistled for a boatload of penalties over the course of the six-game series.

"It was something we stressed in the course of that last series -- and we get 6 penalties in Game 6 -- so we weren't too happy the number of penalties we took, and the quality of the ones we took," Quenneville said Friday. "We've got to be smarter."

It took only 3:13 Friday for the Hawks to pick up the first penalty of the game -- interference on Andrew Shaw.

Shaw later limped off the ice midway through the first period and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

No Joshing?

With goalie Darcy Kuemper out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo was asked about the possibility of using Josh Harding, who was in gear and on the ice Friday morning, as an emergency backup for Ilya Bryzgalov.

"This is an extreme longshot to think he would have a chance to play in this series," Yeo said of Harding, who hasn't played since Dec. 31. "If there's an absolute emergency or there's a desperate situation we find ourselves in we'll be prepared for that. We're not getting him on the ice to get ready to play a game, let's put it that way."

John Curry backed up Brysgalov in Game 1.

The nominees:

Duncan Keith, along with Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and San Jose forward Brent Burns, are the three finalists for the 2013-14 NHL Foundation Player Award,

The award is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community."

The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the chosen charitable organization of this year's recipient.

He said it:

"Every night, somebody else has a chance to make the story and be in the headlines. We do everything as a team."

-- Minnesota coach Mike Yeo

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.