ST. LOUIS – For Andrew Ladd, the decision to play in Game 1 wasn’t up to him. It was up to Mrs. Andrew Ladd.
“If she wasn’t comfortable with that, obviously I wouldn’t have come,” said Ladd, whose wife Brandy welcomed their third child, a boy, early Thursday morning. “It made it easier having gone through it before and knowing my wife had been through it before and having her blessing to come back here and play the game."
Family will still be on Ladd’s mind tonight but it won’t be as stressful, as wife and baby are fine back in Chicago. Now the focus goesonto in Game 2 of Blackhawks-St. Louis Blues tonight at Scottrade Center. Ladd obviously had a lot on his mind during Game 1—he had gone home to Chicago earlier in the day to meet his wife in the delivery room – but he played as if hockey was the primary focus. That comes from years of experience.
“I don’t know. It’s something you deal with, especially once you get a family. You try to juggle the two and you get mentally used to being able to focus on both at the same time obviously the family is first and foremost in your mind,” he said. “But doing what we do, you have to be able to do that."
Ladd was part of the morning skate on Friday and looked good in Game 1, a 1-0 overtime loss to the Blues. Coach Joel Quenneville expects Ladd to bring tonight what he’s brought during his entire second stint with the Blackhawks.
“He brings energy, off the rush he can bring speed,” he said. “He can be a forecheck guy, he goes to the net well, gives experience and leadership, a lot of things we look for.”
Duncan Keith also returns to the lineup, having completed his six-game suspension. He was skating with Niklas Hjalmarsson this morning – Quenneville said Thursday it was likely those two would be paired together again. Quenneville said Keith has to stay on the right side of that line from here on out.
“I think there’s an education there as well,” he said. “Come into the game excited about playing. Whether they target him or not, I think he knows discipline’s always going to be a key and he’ll probably be watched tighter. But just play your game.”
- Viktor Svedberg appears to be in the lineup tonight. He skated with Brent Seabrook during morning drills.
- Brandon Mashinter is in tonight but Quenneville reiterated that Dale Weise and Richard Panik will both play in this first-round series.