Viktor Stalberg looks to pass against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 19 in Chicago. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 7-2.
Two storylines out of Wednesday's practice:
Viktor Stalberg skated with his teammates for the first time since his injury. He wasn't on a line and skating as one of the "extras," but he was at least back. Thursday night's game probably comes a bit early for him, but Saturday's against the Bruins could be in the pocket. What that means for the rest of the roster is the fun part. Stalberg could slot in on the fourth line, which would mean the end of the Brandon Saad experience at the NHL level for this season. Or he could slot up somewhere in the top six forwards, sliding Dan Carcillo back to the 4th line, which would also end the Brandon Saad experience.
The real question is what all this means for Rostislav Olesz. While he was in the Opening Night roster, Olesz was scratched for John Scott the following night. Joel Quenneville said it was just a case of getting everyone a game early in the year, but Olesz hasn't been skating on a line in practice this week either. He's clearly behind Carcillo and Mayers, he would have to be behind Stalberg, and apparently Saad and Marcus Kruger are ahead of him as well on the depth chart. So why are the Hawks taking up $3 million in cap space for a guy to get free donuts and coffee in the team skybox? Keep an eye on this one.
Secondly, after Corey Crawford spent the past two days with feet firmly in foot-bath, apparently it was Ray Emery's turn on Wednesday. And it's bad enough that the Hawks called up Alex Salak. It would be weird to call up a prize prospect to merely fill in for a practice or two, so you'd have to think that Salak is going to back up Crow Thursday night. That would mean Emery is injured, or something, enough to miss time. We'll just have to wait to find out.