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Blackhawks' Stalberg a scratch after questioning power-play time

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:01 a.m. CDT

(MCT) CHICAGO — There was less mystery Wednesday about why Viktor Stalberg took up residence in the doghouse, and total clarity about what it cost him: a spot in the lineup against the Red Wings.

Stalberg, a third-line regular all season for the Blackhawks, didn't play in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at the United Center because of what coach Joel Quenneville termed "a coach's decision."

But the Chicago Tribune first reported Wednesday that Stalberg questioned coaches about his lack of power-play time during the first round against the Wild, precipitating the demotion, according to a source.

The winger averaged 11 seconds per game on the man advantage in Round 1 after playing much of the season on the power play as a net-front presence.

"I had a conversation with him, so he knows how it stands," Quenneville said before Game 1. "He knows what the situation is. We'll leave it at that."

Quenneville added that Stalberg, who played in 47 games and was a plus-16 during the regular season, "absolutely" could return during the series.

"Things change in our business quickly, whether it's health or decisions based on play," the coach said.

Getting defensive: Jonathan Toews may not have been a finalist for the NHL's most valuable player, but the Hawks captain is still in line to bring home some hardware. Toews on Wednesday was named as one of three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded to the league's top defensive forward.

"It's a good feeling for sure," Toews said. "For a while it was (Patrick) Kane and I being mentioned in the Hart (Trophy) conversation. I don't think you get to that point without having great teammates and a great team behind you. The same goes for this.

"It has been part of my game to be solid at both ends of the rink."

The Wings' Pavel Datsyuk and the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron are the other finalists.

"It's an honor to be nominated with (two) unbelievable players," Datsyuk said.

Toews said he was looking forward to the challenge of going head-to-head with Datsyuk during the series and explained his mindset when they squared off.

"Just get the puck away from him,," Toews said. "It doesn't matter where it is and where you are. You have to know where he is. He can come out of nowhere, steal the puck and before you know it it's in the net."

Said Datsyuk: "When a good player plays against a good player, they make each other better."

Rookie rebound: Brandon Saad wore a white jersey for one practice over the weekend and faced a temporary demotion before apparently rebounding. He again skated on the top line with Toews and Marian Hossa in Game 1. Saad recorded just one assist in the first round.

"You take it upon yourself, you're a pro now, it's your job to come ready to play," the Calder Trophy finalist said. "Not much said. (I'm) just looking forward to being back with those guys. It's definitely motivation."

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