I can just imagine Joel Qunneville logging into Twitter after one of his practices, putting his feet up on his desk, lighting a cigar and laughing like Robert De Niro in the movie theater scene from Cape Fear. "Another job well done Coach Troll" he'd say to himself as he watches everyone freak out over the color of his players' practice jerseys. He has definitely been getting everyone riled up this week and it's only Monday!
Brandon Saad returned to his normal spot on the top today, after practicing with the white jersey, usually reserved for injured or scratched players, on Saturday. Viktor Stalberg wasn't so lucky, as he donned the white jersey for the second straight practice. When asked if Vik will play in Game 1 Q responded with his famous "we'll see." Michal Handzus did not participate in practice today and was said to be given an maintenance day. Q again was very vague on his status for Wednesday night's game against the Red Wings.
Dave Bolland, who will return on Wednesday, was taking rushes back on the 2nd line betweemn Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane. I don't have a problem sitting Handzus for Bolland. The one thing Handzus was brought here to do was to win faceoffs. He only won 41.8 % (33/79) of his draws in the five games against the Minnesota Wild. If he isn't going to give the Hawks an advantage at the dot, then there is no reason to play him. I've been hard on Dave Bolland all season, but he is the better option at the 2nd center position than Handzus right now.
Ben Smith took shifts with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell on the 3rd line. I would have no problem with Smith getting a look at in the first couple games of this series. He's got some playoff experience, is not afraid to get physical and can score a goal every once and awhile, right Roberto Luongo? But, there is no way in the world I would scratch Viktor Stalberg in favor of the Brandon Bollig/Gorilla Salad two headed monster. The Wings have problems matching up with speed, so you can't leave one of your fastest players on the bench.
Is Q sending a message to his players? Is he showing some gamesmanship by not tipping his cards to his opponent? Or has he gotten to smart for his own good? We shall see come Wednesday night, but I find it hard to believe #25 will not be out there.