I had a few thoughts on this whole Viktor Stalberg possibly being a healthy scratch stuff, and couldn’t convey it in just 140 characters.
It’s rare that I would try and calm down anyone about any of what Joel Quenneville does, as I’m as skeptical of him as anyone. Well, except for maybe the tallest writer at this site. But let’s see if we can’t pull this bus over to the soft shoulder and turn the hazards on.
What was the first thing Q said after Game 5 against Minnesota? “We have a couple more levels to go.” He stressed how much better the Hawks could have played, and how much better they will have to play in order to progress much farther than where they are now. And I think we all pretty much agreed with that.
So this sort of feels like a head on a spike, albeit briefly, for the rest of the team to see. Obviously, there are bodies that are entrenched. You wouldn’t send Hossa or Sharp or Kane to skate with the extra D and the Black Aces. Saad already paid his penance.
Yeah, Stals is getting scapegoated here, and almost certainly unfairly. But he’s also the one with which Q can get away with this sort thing. Other players will notice but won’t be offended to the point of mutiny. It’s kind of an alert thing, or that’s what I want to believe. “Pick it up or we’ll move on without you, and I have the fortitude to do so,” is what Q appears to be saying. At least that’s what I want to believe.
Another aspect here is numbers. With Bolland returning, there simply has to be some shuffling. We already know that Q loves him some Andrew Shaw and Michal Handzus, whatever their faults. He’s just not going to dump Andrew Shaw on the 4th line as a wing, but he also doesn’t want to move Kruger to a wing where he really isn’t very effective at all. The simple answer is to move Kruger to the #2 spot, Bolland to the #3, and Handzus between Frolik and Shaw. But see above, he just won’t do that.
So if Shaw has to be moved to a wing, it seems like it’s Stalberg’s spot that he has to take. Simple counting gets you there. Still, if it shakes out with a 4th line of 67-16-25, that really won’t be the end of the world. And I think that’s probably how it’s going to go.
And besides, isn’t Mike Babcock just about the last person on Earth you want to show your cards too? Especially when you know you’re going to get outcoached anyway?