Saad motivated after healthy scratch

April, 8, 2014
4/08/14
1:47
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville holds Brandon Saad to a certain standard.

Saad wasn't meeting those expectations in recent weeks, and Quenneville delivered a message that it wasn't acceptable by making Saad a healthy scratch against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

Saad
Back on the ice on Tuesday after a day off, Quenneville and Saad were ready to move on from Sunday's benching and get Saad back to playing like his normal self.

"That consistency we're accustomed to seeing, I think it was sporadic," Quenneville said after practice on Tuesday. "Sometimes you don't feel good or you're not productive at the rate you're normally accustomed to being at, you've got to find ways where you're still participating in our team. I thought he wasn't at that level we'd like to see or he'd like to see. I think you've just got to pick it up.

"He's a big part of our team. I liked how he practiced today. He gives us a lot of intangibles that he brings. He brings some skill to our lines, some speed, dangerous off the rush, heavy in the puck area. You can use him both sides of the ice. He can play with top players. He's going to be very useful as we go along here. It's one game. Let's move on. Let's be excited for tomorrow's game."

Saad's production had been consistent for much of the season, but his numbers recently dropped after he returned from an upper-body injury. He had zero goals, one assist and a minus-six rating in the past seven games since the injury. He has 19 goals, 26 assists and a plus-23 rating in 75 games for the season.

Saad said the injury could have affected him, but he believes there is more to it than that.

"I feel good," Saad said. "A couple games out, maybe you lose timing and things like that, but I think the biggest thing is being competitive and bringing that every night and leading into the playoffs especially. You see the games we've been playing lately; it's that type of hockey game and that's why we're having success."

Quenneville's decision to sit Saad wasn't a last-second one. Quenneville said it developed over time as Saad's play didn't improve.

"There's elements and there's a process to the point where you don't play," Quenneville said. "It's not like it was just a rash decision. I think it's definitely under consideration of how the response is going to be [from the players.] He's a young kid, but he's got a bright future. We expect him to just play. Play to your strengths and just get back playing."

Saad said he and Quenneville had a short talk to discuss him being scratched, but there weren't any specifics touched upon.

"I think you've got to take it as motivation," Saad said. "It's been a good year and everything, stuff like that. You've just got to fuel the fire and come out firing and bring that energy to the team. That's how we're going to have success.

"You kind of take it as it comes. I mean, we had a meeting and talked about it. It's a wake-up call, really, a reality check. You have been playing well, but you can always get better. I think as a young guy it's something that he teaches well, and that's why young players have success here because he expects the most out of them and for them to play well."
Scott Powers is the Blackhawks beat reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
64 27 37 10
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 27
AssistsJ. Toews 38
+/-J. Toews 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.31