Blackhawks Viktor Stalberg scratched for Game 1

Christian Petersen

Joel Quenneville has benched Viktor Stalberg for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals after a lackluster first round.

Viktor Stalberg will be a healthy scratch for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings. Head coach Joel Quenneville had hinted that Stalberg could be scratched earlier in the week.

According to Chris Kuc, there is a rift between Stalberg and Quenneville, which led to the Swede's benching.

Stalberg did not skate with the top lines at Blackhawks practice for three consecutive practices and was instead relegated to wearing the white jersey worn by those likely to be scratched. He was replaced on the third line by Ben Smith.

Stalberg had nine goals and 14 assists during the regular season, but just one assist in the Blackhawks' first round series. He didn't find his way onto the scoresheet in any of the first four games and didn't have a shot in two of the last three games, making him one of the few Blackhawks players to struggle against the Wild.

After the series, Quenneville said that Stalberg needed to play simpler and faster, but he won't get the chance to do so in Game 1.

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