TAMPA, Fla. – Trevor van Riemsdyk will not play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final but there’s a good chance he’ll play at some point in this series.
Van Riemsdyk, who hasn’t played in an NHL game since November, is “real close” and could get into the lineup during against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Van Riemsdyk had an outside chance of getting into the Western Conference Final but it never materialized. David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey have been the Blackhawks’ fifth and sixth defensemen the past two games.
While van Riemsdyk played with the Rockford IceHogs this past spring, he hasn’t been part of the Blackhawks’ lineup since mid-November. He suffered a fractured patella against the Dallas Stars and, after coming back from that, suffered a wrist injury in late March with Rockford.
Despite van Riemsdyk’s lack of play, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has confidence in the young defenseman if he does end up playing against the Lightning.
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“We saw first-hand what he was able to do this year. He surprised us all with how well he played, how well he thought the game and how effective and efficient he is,” Quenneville said. “We’ve been watching him, skating him in practice. One of his strengths is his reads. He’s positionally aware and [has good] decision making with the puck. He has a lot of attribute that could help our team. He came on the scene rather fast. We have a lot of confidence and trust with him.”
-Kris Versteeg rejoined the Blackhawks on Tuesday after he and his wife welcomed their first child, a boy they named Jaxson James. The last few days have understandably been a whirlwind, but a happy whirlwind, for Versteeg. “I kind of compared it, in a different way, when you win a Stanley Cup. It’s almost like you’re in shock. You can’t really understand what’s going on, can’t comprehend it until you step back,” Versteeg said. “But four or five hours, when you got to finally hold him it was pretty remarkable. It was exciting and tough to leave the guy.”
-If Wednesday's lines at morning skate were any indication, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will at least start Game 1 together. How long it remains that way is uncertain. “Last two games, they were so good together, it’s tough to get them apart now,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see how the game goes matchup-wise. Certainly have some balance if you get them apart. Together, they were pretty dynamic the last two games.”