Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg was not benched for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals because of a dispute with head coach Joel Quenneville. At least, that's what Quenneville is saying.
According to a report from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, Stalberg took issue with only receiving one shift on the power play during the team's first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. Citing a source, Lazerus reported that Stalberg was benched for voicing his concerns.
Quenneville flatly denied the accuracy of the report, stating that Stalberg understood why he was a scratch and that it had nothing to do with the power play discussion, via the Chicago Sun-Times:
"That story's 100 percent inaccurate. Viktor didn't play, he knows the reasons why. It has nothing to do with anything about our conversation. It was strictly nothing to do with that. At all. That situation wasn't even addressed."
Quenneville explained that someone needed to come out of the lineup with forward Dave Bolland returning from injury. However, the coach failed to publicly acknowledge the reasons for Stalberg's benching. Lazerus points out that Quenneville has not altered his lineups after a win. If that proves to be the case, Stalberg won't be in the lineup for Game 2 on Saturday, as the Blackhawks took a 1-0 series lead with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday.
In five games this postseason, Stalberg has registered an assist and averaged 12:37 of ice time.