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Posted On Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 7:40 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Stalberg skates as extra at Blackhawks practice

CHICAGO -- Viktor Stalberg again appears to be out of the regular group of Chicago Blackhawks forwards.

After playing all five games of the Blackhawks' Western Conference Final victory against the Los Angeles Kings, Stalberg wasn't among the top 12 forwards at Chicago's workout Tuesday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Brandon Bollig, who didn't play at all against the Kings, played left wing on the fourth line while Dave Bolland was bumped up to play on the third line with Brandon Saad and center Andrew Shaw.

"We had a discussion about it," Stalberg said on media day Tuesday, referring to a conversation with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. "I don't want to get into what was said in that, but I think this is what he wanted. He wanted a tougher lineup against them for the first game, so we'll take it from there. It's how it is right now."

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Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 5:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Shaw on Chara, Marchand and kissing Kane

CHICAGO -- Practice Monday was optional for the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center, which meant only a handful of options for TV crews and writers looking for players to interview.

Blackhawks rookie Andrew Shaw was one of those available afterward and he chatted about a number of different subjects, ranging from his own improbable path to the NHL to playing against 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final to a photo of he and Patrick Kane celebrating Chicago's double-overtime victory Saturday in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings.

The picture, which shows Kane sliding on his knees with arms extended and Shaw hugging him from behind, is making its way around the Internet via social media.

Here are a few of the more notable snippets from Shaw's media session Monday:

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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Keith happy to be back in Blackhawks lineup

CHICAGO -- After watching teammates scramble to fill in during a one-game suspension, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is excited to get back in the lineup.

The Blackhawks will try to close out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). With his team leading the best-of-7 series, 3-1, Keith said he's eager to rejoin the fray.

"I'm looking forward to the game and know it's going to be the biggest game of the series. I want to play a good hockey game," said Keith, who was suspended for one game after hitting Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face with his stick in Game 3. "It's tough to watch. When you're playing every game and then all of a sudden you're watching on TV, it's just a different feeling altogether. I couldn't really tell you, to be honest, if we were playing good or bad in the first period [of Game 4] or not … or what was going on."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 7:14 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks seek answers for power-play struggles

CHICAGO -- It was a problem area for much of the regular season and hasn't really improved from a statistical standpoint for the Chicago Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chicago's power play continues to struggle -- to put it mildly. After going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday at Staples Center, the Blackhawks are 1-for-12 in this best-of-7 series (8.3 percent).

They are 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) in the postseason, and 1-for-22 (4.6 percent) in power plays on the road in the playoffs.

"You look at maybe [Game 4] and we trailed for at least half the game there until we tied it up in the second [at even strength]," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Friday. "We feel if you take advantage of a few of your power play chances there, maybe you could take the lead and take a little more control of the game and distance yourself a little bit from the other team."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 6:10 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings remain confident heading into Game 2

CHICAGO – The Los Angeles Kings lost their first two games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs on the road against the St. Louis Blues, but still won that Western Conference Quarterfinals series in six games.

After dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference Final in a 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night at United Center, the defending Stanley Cup champions are again faced with a possible 0-2 hole should they lose the second half of back-to-back contests in Game 2 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Don’t, however, ask Kings coach Darryl Sutter if his team’s first-round experience might be something to draw confidence from if they’re flying home again down two games to none.


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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:29 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' Hossa says hello to friends back home

CHICAGO Marian Hossa had quite the night Saturday at United Center.

The Slovakian star forward scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final -- but he also did something noteworthy before the game started.

As the Blackhawks’ starting five skaters lined up on the blue line during the singing of the national anthem, Hossa looked into a TV camera that panned across them and gave a wink. It was shown live on the scoreboard’s big screen, but the intended targets for it were located much farther away.

“Lots of my friends back home were watching at the bar,” Hossa said. “I was just giving them some signal. They called me before the game, said they were going to watch. Hopefully they got the signal.”

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Stoll back in Kings lineup for Game 1

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out the final six games of the conference semifinals.

Stoll was injured in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks when he was hit high by Raffi Torres, who was suspended for the duration of that series.

Stoll took line rushes in pregame warmups as the third-line center between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Tyler Toffoli, who played in Game 7 against the Sharks, had to be scratched in order for Stoll to return.

Stoll shed his non-contact jersey and practiced in his normal spot Friday.

Faceoffs, where he won 56 percent of his draws during the regular season, and penalty killing was where Stoll was missed most.

"If you look at our faceoff percentage last series, it's down quite a bit … and he's a big part of that," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "I think we only got above 50 percent in one game. He still has an effect on our team when he’s not in the lineup, but from an X's and O's standpoint we're strong up the middle and a lot of that's because he's in the [third center] spot."

Here are the lineups for the Kings and Blackhawks based on pregame warmups:

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings sharing hotel with 'Star Trek' convention

CHICAGO -- During the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings shared hotel space with a large Anime convention while playing their games at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

When the Kings checked into their hotel Thursday for the start of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, they weren't even fazed by the "Star Trek" convention being held there this weekend.

"Actually, this is pretty tame compared to what we saw in San Jose," Kings captain Dustin Brown said Saturday morning prior to the series opener at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). "That was Anime, so that one was a little more bizarre."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 7:04 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks try to move size throughout lineup

CHICAGO -- After grinding out a Western Conference Semifinal win in seven games against the Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks returned to practice Friday prior to the start of a conference final against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville juggled his forward lines for the workout from what he used in the 2-1 overtime victory in Game 7 against Detroit and appears to be looking for more size up front by adding 6-foot-4, 233-pound power forward Bryan Bickell as the left wing for 6-2, 208-pound Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews.

“I think he’s earned that opportunity [with] how he’s played,” Quenneville said of Bickell, who’s one of Chicago’s top scorers this postseason with five goals and one assist. “Not just his production offensively but physically he’s been engaged and he’s got some speed and he’s had a lot of puck time. When he did get the opportunity [against Detroit] to move up with those guys he did a great job. I think it gives a little more size and presence on that line.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 5:02 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Red Wings tinker with look of power play

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Red Wings might tweak the look of their power play for Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

During their morning skate, the Red Wings practiced the power play using somewhat of an umbrella scheme, with only defenseman Niklas Kronwall at the point. Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen were on the flanks with Justin Abdelkader in front of the net and Henrik Zetterberg roaming.

"We tried it out in practice," Abdelkader said. "We'll see what happens in the game, if it stays or not, but if it does we've just got to shoot pucks and get second chances, second rebounds and break them down. Power plays always start with a shot, so we've got to make sure we're shooting, getting pucks back and taking them to the net."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres