Blackhawks

Ex-Blackhawk Viktor Stalberg relishing opportunity with Predators

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Ex-Blackhawk Viktor Stalberg relishing opportunity with Predators

NASHVILLE – Viktor Stalberg remembers this time of year.

He didn’t experience it last season with the Nashville Predators, who got off to a rough start and never recovered after Pekka Rinne was out the early part of the season. But he’s back into it now, and how better to start than against the team with which he won a Stanley Cup.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Stalberg. “Obviously my last memory there is winning it, so it should be exciting. They’re obviously a great team and had success in the playoffs. I should be a tough matchup, but we’re excited about it.”

This year has had its ups and downs for Stalberg. He went through injuries and stints in the minors before returning to the Predators’ lineup in early March. He played in just 25 games with Nashville, recording two goals and eight assists. It’s the second consecutive tough season after signing a four-year, $12-million contract in the summer of 2013.

[MORE HAWKS: Kane ready, Vermette sitting in Game 1]

“Yeah, it’s been a tough year," Stalberg said. "I think you kind of try to stay with it as much as you can. But bad timing, injuries, all season long it seems like. Just couldn’t really catch a break. I played through it and found a way to get back in the lineup and obviously I’m here right now. At the end of the day it worked out and I’m in the lineup here when the playoffs start, so I’m excited about that.”

The Blackhawks enter this series sitting Antoine Vermette, a player they acquired at the deadline for a first-round pick and a defenseman (Klas Dahlbeck). Stalberg understands how that feels; he was scratched at the start of the Detroit series and again later in the postseason back in the spring of 2013.

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“Yeah, I think my situation was what it was. It was a game here or there. So at the end of the day I still felt like I was a big part of it. But it is tough,” Stalberg said. “You certainly don’t ever want to sit out… it’s a tough situation to be in, but you can’t make it about yourself. It’s about winning games and I think that’s what they’re looking to do. If Joel thinks that that’s their best lineup, that’s what he’s going to go with.”

Speaking of the Stanley Cup, where’s that ring he also received?

“I think it’s back in Sweden. But it’s in my safety deposit box there, I think,” he said. “I don’t really know, or keep it around. I think it’s a little too big to wear around town.”

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here:

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

The Blackhawks have banned the four fans — who were ejected from Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals for their racist remarks towards Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly — from future home games.

On Monday, a Blackhawks spokesperson released this statement:

We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also wanted to remind fans that they can alert security at the United Center by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.