Carcillo, Mayers in altercation at practice


CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers had to be separated during Tuesday's practice at the United Center.

Carcillo and Mayers exchanged words and stick slashes after crossing paths during a drill. Teammates stepped in and separated them.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville downplayed the incident.

"I'm not concerned," Quenneville said. "I've seen many of those. The word is, I don't know if it's healthy, but I think it shows how competitive it is. Guys want to play. Whether it's a bump, I've seen it escalate to a different level as well. I thought that was kind of on the friendly side, so I wouldn't consider it that bad."

Carcillo and Mayers have played sparingly late in the season. Carcillo was scratched five times in April and played in two playoff games during the first round. Mayers was scratched from 11 games in April and has not appeared in the playoffs.

Waiting for his chance: Blackhawks forward Ben Smith has skated with the team's top-four lines the past three practices.

Smith, who spent the majority of the regular season with the Rockford IceHogs, skated with the first line on Saturday, the third line on Monday and the second line on Tuesday. He's unsure if he'll get a chance to play in an actual game, but he's ready if called upon.

"I'm confident in what I can do," said Smith, who had three goals in seven playoff games for the Blackhawks in 2011. "If I bring my game, I feel like I can contribute a bit wherever I'm put."

Return home:The Blackhawks plan to return to Chicago between Games 3 and 4 in Detroit. Game 3 will be on Monday and Game 4 will be on Thursday.

With the short travel between cities, Quenneville said it made sense to spend the time back in Chicago.

"Depending on overtime [in Game 3, we] could be home before midnight, so we got two full days here, two full sleeps in your own bed," Quenneville said.

Days off: The NHL's second-round playoff schedule provided the Blackhawks and Red Wings two days off between Games 1 and 2 and two days off between Games 3 and 4.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said he'd prefer for one day off between games, but he doesn't believe it will be a major issue.

"I don't really like them," Sharp said of the multiple days off. "It's good if you need to heal up some bumps and bruises and get away from the game a little bit. Coaches have done a good job of keeping us motivated, keeping us focused. Our practices are challenging, and I think we're ready to go."