Joel Quenneville

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two

Vermette, Teravainen return for Blackhawks in Game 4

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After voicing his displeasure with being a healthy scratch in Game 3, Antoine Vermette will draw back into the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final.

Vermette along with Teuvo Teravainen, who also draws in tonight, watched as Chicago fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

Vermette has a goal and an assist to go along with a plus-4 rating while averaging 13:33 of ice time in 10 playoff games. Teravainen has scored a goal and three points in eight postseason games while averaging 13:46 in ice time.

During the team’s morning skate on Saturday Patrick Sharp skated on a line with Vermette with Teravainen – the trio played together in Chicago’s 3-2 triple overtime victory in Game 2.

Joakim Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg, who were inserted into Game 3 as “fresh legs” appear to be the odd men out tonight.

“There are some good stretches there in Game 2. I think that line can be a factor offensively. I think defensively they’ve been reliable in stretches, as well,” said Blackhwks coach Joel Quenneville of his third line. “Just some pace and energy across the board.

“That four-line rotation that we felt was best in Game 2 is what we’re looking for.”

Andrew Shaw meanwhile skated on the Blackhawks’ fourth line alongside Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger at the United Center this morning.

“(Shaw) had some good games on the wall,” Quenneville said. “We talked about this maybe in the prior series, that some guys like them better on the wing, or you like him better at center. I think it’s 50/50. I think we like him equally as well. He’s comfortable in both areas.

“I think in the playoffs he raises his level of play. That persistence that you saw out of Shawsy just seems to rise.”

Kruger, who didn’t take a single faceoff in Game 3, said he was not battling an injury and expects to be back in the faceoff circle tonight.

“Your instincts, they find a way to get to the puck quicker, they got a good stick, they anticipate real well,” said Quenneville of Kruger. “I think offensively he has the same traits. But I think he’s so adept at the defensive side of things, we give him a little bit more of a job description on that side of it.

“Certainly very valuable and useful in a lot of ways.”

Puck drop tonight is at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Deadline approaching for Jackets to sign prospect Peter Quenneville

Brandon Wheat Kings v Kelowna Rockets
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The Columbus Blue Jackets have already lost prospect goaltender Oscar Dansk who decided to sign in the Swedish Hockey League earlier this week.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Jackets are now in danger of losing Peter Quenneville.

GM Jarmo Kekalainen tells Portzline the Jackets are still uncertain about signing the forward.

If Quenneville isn’t signed by June 1, he is eligible to go back into this year’s draft.

The 21-year-old has spent parts of two seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League after leaving Quinnipiac University during the 2013-14 season. He had 27 goals and 75 points in 72 games this season.

Quenneville, who is the second cousin of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and nephew of Islanders’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk by marriage, was the seventh round selection of the Jackets (195th overall) in 2013.

With Rozsival sidelined, Rundblad steps in on ‘Hawks blue line

David Rundblad, Nathan Gerbe
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When and where the Blackhawks will open up the Western Conference final has yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure, David Rundblad will be on the Chicago blue line when they do.

Rundblad is the benefactor of a fractured ankle suffered by Michal Rozsival in Game 4 of the ‘Hawks series against the Minnesota Wild. Rozsival will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

“He’s going to come in and play,” said Joel Quenneville per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Other guys are accustomed to playing significant minutes. Every game’s going to be different, but his play and the game and the score will play a lot into it.”

Rundblad has never played an NHL playoff game. In 49 games during the regular season the 24-year-old had three goals and 11 assists to go a long with a plus-17 rating while averaging 12:48 in ice time.

“You’ve just got to keep it simple,” Rundblad said. “Especially now, when I haven’t been playing. It’s way more faster, way more intense in the playoffs than the regular season. I’ve just got to go out there and just be quick, and do everything quick. Just keep it as simple as I can.”

Veteran Kimmo Timonen could also see a bump in ice time with Rozsival sidelined.

The 40-year-old has a plus-3 rating in 10 playoff games while averaging 9:25 in ice time – down from his regular season average of 11:59.

“If I get more, I get more. If I don’t, I don’t,” said Timonen. “That’s my role and I’m happy to do it. If it’s seven, eight, 12 minutes — that’s more than I was supposed to play this year anyway. I’ll take whatever I get. We’re going to the conference finals. The team is playing well. I’m really happy to be part of a winning team.”

Added Quenneville: “We’ll see. The play and the score and [Rundblad’s] play and how the other guys are managing their minutes [will be a factor]. It’ll all sort itself out.”

The Blackhawks await the winner of the series between Anaheim and Calgary.

Crawford was ‘a little pissed off at first’ with Darling starting

Scott Darling, Corey Crawford, Teuvo Teravainen
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With Scott Darling making his fourth straight start tonight when the Blackhawks play host to the Nashville Predators in Game 6, Corey Crawford was asked how he’s dealing with the situation.

“(I was) a little pissed off at first,” he told Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus. “It’s only natural. I think that’s a good thing. It shows I want to play.

“We’re up in the series, so life’s good.”

Crawford allowed three goals on 12 shots and was replaced by Darling in Game 1. Darling made 42 saves in the double-overtime victory. Crawford then started Game 2 and made 29 saves in a 6-2 loss.

The 30-year-old is 0-1 with a 6.75 G.A.A. and an .809 save percentage.

“Crow’s a good guy, a good teammate, a good pro,” said Joel Quenneville. “I’m sure he wants to play in the worst way.”

Darling is 3-1 in the series to go along with a 1.73 G.A.A. and a .950 save percentage.

Blackhawks make line changes ahead of Game 6

Kris Versteeg
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The Chicago Blackhawks have another chance to close out their first round series with the Nashville Predators tonight at the United Center.

Head coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lines slightly at the team’s morning skate.

Kris Versteeg will move up to the Hawks’ second line alongside Brad Richards and Patrick Kane. Bryan Bickell moves down to play with Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp.

“They’re both useful options with that [second] line,” said Quenneville.

Versteeg has a goal in the first five games of the series while Bickell has two assists and eight penalty minutes in the five games.