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Andrew Ladd hopes to play in Game 1

Chicago Blackhawks v San Jose Sharks - Game Two

of the San Jose Sharks of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 18, 2010 in San Jose, California.

Ezra Shaw

It’s no secret that hockey players will fight through some gruesome injuries and often take crazy health risks to play in the playoffs. Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd needs only to look back at his Stanley Cup winning run with the Carolina Hurricanes - and his former teammate Erik Cole’s courageous Game 7 return despite a serious neck injury - to justify coming back earlier than he normally would. reports that Ladd is shooting for a Game 1 return from an “upper-body injury” that some believe took place after he collided with burly San Jose Sharks defenseman Rob Blake during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

And, it is Cole’s emotional return back in 2006 that keeps flashing back into Ladd’s mind as he fights to come back and be a part of his second Stanley Cup Final in five years. Two weeks may seem like the blink of an eye to the outsider, but Ladd knows it provides plenty of time to heal for a hockey player intent on playing.

“I think you find that there are a lot of different scenarios and its pretty tough to keep a guy out a situation where you are playing for the Stanley Cup and all a guy wants to do is help,” Ladd said.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is listing Ladd as day-to-day and says he should make an appearance in this series. But Ladd’s teammates are even more positive.

“Nothing will keep him off the ice,” said Dave Bolland, who shares checking-line duties with Bolland.

Ladd stated an intention - though by no means a guarantee - to try to test out his injury in Friday’s morning skate. The rugged winger contributed 17 goals and 21 assists for Chicago during the regular season and has 2 goals and 1 assist so far in the playoffs.

We’ll pass along updates on Ladd (and other injury situations) as we hear more about them building up to Saturday night’s Game 1 contest.