The Chicago Blackhawks drop the puck in their series against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night but they’ll be doing so without forward Viktor Stalberg. According to the Chicago Tribune, Stalberg will be a healthy scratch the the Blackhawks take on Detroit in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup against one another.
Still absent was Stalberg, who will not play against the Red Wings. The former third-line stalwart played 47 games during the regular season and was a plus-16 but did not skate with any of the top four lines for four straight workouts.
Stalberg has seemingly been in the doghouse since last week, and head coach Joe Quenneville said that he talked to Stalberg but wouldn’t go into detail about what exactly was said.
“I had a conversation with him, so he knows how it stands,” Quenneville said, via the Chicago Tribune. “He knows what the situation is. We’ll leave it at that.”
While the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild in five games last round, Stalberg was hardly a part of the production. He mustered just one assists and only eight shots on goal in the series, which is a big reason for him being benched. In two of Chicago’s final three games against the Wild, Stalberg didn’t get a single shot on goal and seemed to ignore the fact that he wasn’t a part of the Blackhawks success.
“We won 4-1, right?” Stalberg said when asked about his struggles after the Blackhawks closed out the Wild.
The Blackhawks are hoping that the return of center Michal Handzus will replace the lack of production from Stalberg, as Handzus will return to a spot on Chicago’s second-line while Stalberg will have to fight to regain his spot on the third-line.