Ballard not upset with Blackhawks' Bollig

ST. PAUL, Minn. - While Brandon Bollig sat out his second consecutive game for the big hit he put on Keith Ballard in Game 4, the Minnesota defenseman was back in the lineup Tuesday night at the Excel Center.

"I don't think it was a good hit, but I also understand the circumstances," said Ballard, who sat out Game 5 on Sunday with an upper-body injury. "I don't think it was a smart hit. But I don't think it was some of the worst ones we see out there sometimes."

As for whether Bollig had been in contact with him since the hit, Ballard said it didn't really matter.

"Too much gets made of the whole, 'Did he text you?" Ballard said. "I don't give a (darn). I honestly don't. It's fine. That's what happens.

"I've hit guys and they've been injured. I don't think it was overly malicious. It was probably a dumb play. That stuff doesn't really matter to me. It's part of the game."

Voice recognition:

Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who took a puck to the throat in Game 2, has begun communicating again.

"He's starting to," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I don't know if he's talking, but he's yelling and screaming a few things."

He's at the what?

Minnesota's Ryan Suter was not on the ice for Tuesday's morning skate. So where exactly was he?

"He had to, uh, go to the dentist this morning," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Scheduled cleaning. So that's why he was not there."

Extra motivation:

A series-clinching victory and a couple of days off back home … don't think it wasn't in the back of the Blackhawks' minds heading into Tuesday's game.

"Yeah, I think that helps," Brandon Saad said. "The playoffs are a long grind, and any time you can get a couple of days here and there it definitely helps."

"That'd be great," Patrick Sharp. "At this time of year rest is important. We're not really thinking of what lies ahead, though."


Andrew Shaw still is expected to start skating again in the next day or two. … Darcy Kuemper returned from injury to serve as Ilya Bryzgalov's backup for Game 6. … Minnesota's Matt Cooke was whistled for boarding Johnny Oduya in the first period.

He said it:

"I'm not a very frilly guy with the motivational speeches … I might have tried one in the past and I probably blew it."

- Joel Quenneville on why his players do most of the talking in the room

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