Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville announced after the team’s morning skate that forward Viktor Stalberg will not play game one versus the Detroit Red Wings.
While Quenneville did not disclose any information on his decision, Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc tweeted that Stalberg questioned his role with the team. If this is true, the benching is warranted and could signal the end of Viktor’s Blackhawks playing days.
Stalberg is an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can sign elsewhere after the 2013 season. He is making just under $1 million this season with the Blackhawks, and has showed his game is maturing.
The Blackhawks have a handful of players without contracts for next season besides Stalberg, including Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy, and Ray Emery. It is clear with a limited cap that Chicago cannot bring back everyone.
Stalberg may have just made that decision a little easier.
That being said, there is a chance the benching is for game one. Quenneville was also quoted as saying Stalberg can play his way back into the lineup. The next few days will be interesting to follow. A lot has happened prior to tonight’s series opener. One can only hope game one is just as exciting.
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