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updated: 5/10/2014 1:11 AM

Sitting out can light a fire inside

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  • Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke, left, celebrates after Wild right wing Justin Fontaine scored on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, right, during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 9, 2014.

      Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke, left, celebrates after Wild right wing Justin Fontaine scored on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, right, during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 9, 2014.
    Associated Press

  • Patrick Sharp checks Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin into the boards as they battle for the puck during the first period of the Hawks' Game 4 loss Friday in Minnesota.

      Patrick Sharp checks Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin into the boards as they battle for the puck during the first period of the Hawks' Game 4 loss Friday in Minnesota.
    Associated Press

  • Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, center, and Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) are near as a shot by Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) goes in during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

      Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, center, and Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) are near as a shot by Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) goes in during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
    Associated Press

 
 

ST. Paul, Minn. -- It happened to Nick Leddy in Game 3, and lately Kris Versteeg has felt its sting as well.

It's the dreaded realization that you've been scratched.

Bryan Bickell has been there, done that.

"It's tough. I've been on that side a couple times, but you take it as a learning experience to look back on what you were doing, what you need to do and why they take you out," Bickell said. "It kind of lights that fire underneath you to be better."

The process of scratching isn't much easier on a coach. "It's always a difficult spot to put that player in or to make those decisions," the Hawks' Joel Quenneville admitted.

"You have to put yourself in a position to be ready to come in and make a difference when you do. That makes us a better team. Those guys, we need their enthusiasm. We expect these guys to come right back in and not miss a beat."

Good and bad:

The good news coming out of Joel Quenneville's meeting with the media Friday was that it appears defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who took a puck to the throat in Game 2, soon may be talking again.

The bad news concerns the return of Andrew Shaw, who hasn't played since early in the series opener against the Wild.

Quenneville said Shaw hasn't been skating since the injury, making a return any time soon seem like a longshot.

Compare and contrast:

Minnesota coach Mike Yeo and Joel Quenneville spent part of their day Friday trying to describe the similarities between Jonathan Toews and Wild star Zach Parise. Here's what they came up with:

Yeo: "There's a relentlessness, there's no question. Both guys are fierce competitors and willing to do whatever it takes at both ends of the ice to give their team the best chance to win."

Quenneville: "Both competitive, both leaders, both want to excel, both make guys around them better … and they both like to win."

Not so smooth:

The hope was, with the series moving to Minnesota, that the ice surface would be a little bit better at the Xcel Energy Center than it has been at the United Center.

The Wild's Zach Parise said this week that that wasn't exactly the case.

Patrick Sharp, your thoughts on the surface?

"You know, I think the ice was good," Sharp said. "This is a great building to play in, great atmosphere. There's bad ice in a lot of buildings this time of year.

"Both teams are playing on it, so there's no excuses."

He said it:

"Obviously, I don't want to see anyone get hurt and neither does anyone else, but you also don't want this to be a figure-skating contest out there."

-- Wild forward Matt Cooke, who had 5 hits and 1 assist in his return from suspension

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