TAMPA, Fla. – Another day, another round of uncertainty regarding Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop’s status.
Meanwhile, whether it’s Bishop or backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Blackhawks are just going about their pregame business.
Bishop may or may not start – we’re guessing he does – when the Lightning host the Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. Bishop was in the starter’s net for the Lightning’s optional skate this morning and addressed the media afterward. He said that, “progress is being made” on the unspecified injury that kept him out of Game 4 in Chicago. He added he’ll talk to coach Jon Cooper and then the decision will be made.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
“You have to do what's best for the team,” Bishop said. “This time of the year it's all about the team and wins. It's not about personal accolades at all.
“It's terrible. I was more nervous for that game I’m not playing than for any game. I thought Vasi came in and did a great job. He did everything he needed to do. I thought he played a great game. We had a chance to win that game.”
The Blackhawks’ lineup should look the same as in Game 4. Lines were reconfigured some. The fourth line of Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw was together again. Patrick Sharp was on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad joined Brad Richards and Patrick Kane on the second line while Kris Versteeg, Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen comprised the third.
Whoever is playing, the Blackhawks say they’ll be ready. Patrick Kane said they don’t get caught up in, “who’s in/who’s out” chatter during the day.
“We don't expect them to say a day early or the morning of a skate who will be in net. We do some of that too. It's always part of the process,” he said. “We'll get here tonight, focus on getting ourselves ready, come in after warm-ups and see who is starting for them. It doesn't really change too much. We know they'll probably make the better option for what's better for their team.”