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Blackhawks non-committal on Shaw's Game 4 return

by Brian Hedger / Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO-- The availability of Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw remains uncertain for Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round series Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Chicago leads the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. Minnesota won 4-0 in Game 3 on Tuesday in St. Paul, the second straight game Chicago played without Shaw.

A hit from Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner knocked Shaw out of Game 1 in the first period with a lower-body injury and his prognosis is unknown. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville first told reporters prior to Game 2 at United Center that he was hopeful Shaw would play in Game 3.

Quenneville then said Shaw might make the return trip to the Twin Cities for Game 4, but now that possibility seems up in the air.

"We'll see," Quenneville said Wednesday. "That's to be determined."

Asked if Shaw is progressing in his recovery, Quenneville again was non-committal.

"He's been OK," Quenneville said. "It's tough to say right now."

Quenneville also fielded questions about his decision to scratch defenseman Nick Leddy for Game 3 in favor of Sheldon Brookbank. Leddy, who's from Eden Prairie, Minn., played 46 seconds in the third period of Game 2 after being on the ice for the Wild's goal in a 4-1 Blackhawks win.

Leddy played all 82 regular-season games, and has two assists and a minus-1 rating while playing the Blackhawks' first eight Stanley Cup Playoff games. He played in all 23 playoff games during Chicago's run to the 2013 Stanley Cup despite going through similar struggles and being benched in games for long stretches.

The difference this time, according to Quenneville, is how well Brookbank played against the St. Louis Blues in the first round filling in for defenseman Brent Seabrook, who was suspended three games for an illegal hit.

"Going into that building, I thought [Brookbank] physically probably [gave] us a little bit more," Quenneville said. "We felt it was going to be a hard game. [He] played important minutes and played against some top lines [against St. Louis], as well. We were comfortable with the move and I thought he played pretty well."

Quenneville said 23-year old Leddy has some room left to grow on the player development chart. He likes Leddy's speed and ability to convert turnovers by opponents into offensive chances, but he'd like to see Leddy use those skills more often.

Quenneville didn't say whether Leddy would return for Game 4.

"He's progressing [as a player]," Quenneville said. "I still think he's going to be a big part of this series and our success here going forward. We're going to need him here and we want him to be a part of it."

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