CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday reports that forward Viktor Stalberg was benched for Game 1 of their playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings for questioning his diminished role on the power play are "100 percent inaccurate."
"Viktor didn't play. He knows the reasons why," Quenneville said at the United Center on Thursday. "It has nothing to do with anything about our conversation. It was strictly nothing to do with that, at all. That situation wasn't even addressed."
Stalberg was a healthy scratch from Wednesday's 4-1 victory in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal after playing in 47 of 48 regular-season games and in all five first-round playoff games. He had nine goals and 14 assists in the regular season and one assist in the first round. His playing time fluctuated during the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild from a Game 1 high of 18:02 to nine minutes in Game 4.
A source familiar with the situation told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday that Stalberg's benching was related to his attitude after being excluded from the power play as the postseason began. He totaled 58 seconds of man-advantage time in the five games after averaging 2:11 per game in the regular season.
Quenneville said decisions like the one to sit Stalberg in the playoffs after he had played all season were difficult, but Quenneville said he needed to get Dave Bolland back into the lineup. Bolland missed the first-round series due to an injury and replaced Stalberg on the third line on Wednesday.
"When we're talking about players who played most of the year, this year we had some tough decisions as far as who plays and who doesn't play," Quenneville said. "We had the rotation on our back end with (Sheldon Brookbank) and (Michal Rozsival). Every game one of them had to sit out. It was definitely unfair for those guys. But that's the situation we're in. We had to make some tough decisions.
"With [Bolland] coming back, I thought we had progressed the last couple games in the Minnesota series. Someone had to come out. I think you look at every situation. You have a good argument for a number of guys. I don't want to get into the arguments, but some strong considerations."
Stalberg said Tuesday he was just going to "keep my mouth shut."
"I haven't talked to anybody," Stalberg said Tuesday. "At this point, no, [I don't want to talk to anyone]. It's their decision. I can't influence what they're doing. Keep my mouth shut and play and see where it goes."
Quenneville didn't rule out Stalberg returning to the lineup. Quenneville said "we'll see" when asked if Stalberg could play in Game 2 on Saturday.