Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville continued to sound optimistic concerning the prognosis of injured forward Andrew Shaw, who might return in time to see action in the Western Conference finals.
"We expect to have him back on the ice this weekend and we'll get a better determination of when he'll play," Quenneville said.
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Shaw was injured in the opening game of the Minnesota series and since then has been labeled "day to day" by Quenneville, but the coach upped Shaw's status to "a little closer to day to day" the other day.
Either way, the bottom line is the Hawks are eagerly awaiting the return of the young forward.
"He certainly adds an ingredient you appreciate as a coach and a teammate," Quenneville said. "He has that relentless competitiveness, some skill offensive and he's hard to play against.
"You look forward to getting him back."
Brandon Bollig has returned and is ready to put his two-game suspension behind him.
"Obviously it's definitely not ideal that the guy (Keith Ballard) got hurt -- I wasn't looking to hurt anyone," Bollig said. "Hopefully it doesn't happen again."
As for whether Bollig felt the suspension was justified, well …
"I don't really have a comment," he said. "I'm not really part of the safety department. I guess they had their reasons and I served my time."
Watching the competition:
Just like most Hawks fans, the players themselves will be tuning in to Friday's showdown between the Kings and the Ducks to see who their next opponent will be.
"Right now you're a fan," Patrick Kane said. "You're sitting back and watching to see what's going to happen. And then you've got to turn it back on and be ready and be a pro athlete again and realize where you are -- with a chance to go to a Stanley Cup Final again."
Hawks staying with WGN:
The Blackhawks and WGN-TV officials have agreed to a three-year extension of the station's television rights.
Though the current agreement wasn't set to expire for another two years, the extension keeps Blackhawks hockey on WGN through the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
"From Lloyd Pettit to Pat Foley, WGN-TV has been a highly valued member of the Blackhawks family," Blackhawks president & CEO John McDonough said in a statement.
He said it:
"When you're that close to doing what we did last year, it's an awesome feeling to be a part of and you know every step it takes a level of mental and physical effort to reach that goal, and we're willing to do it again. I don't think we're near to empty yet."
-- Bryan Bickell