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updated: 5/12/2014 12:25 AM

Versteeg back in Coach Q's good graces

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Kris Versteeg had to admit it: the past few weeks have been kind of crazy.

Playing the first five games of the St. Louis series, then getting scratched for the series clincher will do that to you.

So will missing the opener against the Wild because of illness and then being a healthy scratch in Game 4 .

"You always want to play and be a part of it, but again, you have to understand why you're not in and you've got to find a way to get in the lineup," Versteeg said after Sunday's morning skate. "And when you do, you've got to find a way to stay in the lineup.

"It's just something you don't want to happen, but when it happens you try to chase the positives and learn lessons from it."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville slotted Versteeg back into the lineup Sunday and had him skating on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell.

"We're looking for more directness in his game, more pace," Quenneville said. "We were ready to start him at the beginning of the series and he was sick.

"We want to get him up to speed where he's contributing with the puck, without the puck, influencing both ways, and have more speed in his game."

And after a night where he had 13:39 of ice time, registered 2 hits and won four of five faceoffs, Quenneville came away impressed.

"I thought with Steeger, that line was effective for us, gave us more balance and gave us a four-line rotation, which is all right as well," Quenneville said.

That was just what Versteeg had planned heading in to Sunday night.

"I understand what I can do and my abilities and when given an opportunity I know I can be an effective player," he said. "Hopefully tonight's the night."

Whatever works:

The Star Tribune reported that every Wild player had a different locker stall for Game 5 than they had the last time they played in Chicago.

They also stayed in a different hotel and left on the bus at different times.


Because they did it before Game 7 against the Avs and looked what happened.

Plenty of changes:

Jeremy Morin and Michal Rozsival were out of the lineup Sunday, while Sheldon Brookbank returned and Peter Regin made his first postseason appearance.

"I know my role. I know how I can play," Regin said. "I'm just going to try to play the best I can and see how far that takes me. That's all I can do."

He said it:

"The last two or three years have been at the same pace as when he was in his prime. So we'll say he's still in his prime."

-- Joel Quenneville, on the ageless Marian Hossa

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