Stalberg says Q wants more production

Viktor Stalberg said his benching had nothing to do with an attitude problem. Rob Grabowski/US Presswire

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg said Friday he was told by coach Joel Quenneville that his recent demotion was solely based on performance.

Stalberg was a healthy scratch from Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday and was again not included on the team's top-four lines in practice on Friday. Quenneville said "we'll see" when asked Friday if Stalberg would play in Game 2 on Saturday.

Stalberg played in 47 of 48 regular-season games and in all five first-round playoff games. He had nine goals and 14 assists in the regular season and one assist in the first round.

Stalberg said he recently had a brief conversation with Quenneville about why he wasn't playing.

"It was just short, standard," Stalberg said after Friday's practice. "Be more intense out there, play harder. It's nothing you never heard before. I think most guys when they're not playing get to hear that, nothing too different. He wants me to produce more and be more effective out there. Hopefully when I get back, I'll try and make a difference."

Stalberg also said reports of him being benched because of questioning his power-play role were inaccurate. Quenneville had said the same on Thursday.

Stalberg, who is a free agent after the season, said he hadn't thought about his future with the team and didn't think his demotion would play a factor into it.

"I don't think so," Stalberg said. "I think this is part of it. Whether I'm here next year or not, we'll see what happens. That's something we'll take after the year. It's nothing I'm really concerned about at this point. We'll figure that one out after hopefully we hoist the Cup here."

Stalberg said his plan going forward was to stay positive and continue to work hard.

"Can't really do anything else now," Stalberg said. "Work hard, make a difference when I'm back in the lineup. That's the only reason. I've been in these spots before. There's not much you can do. Just keep digging into it and working your way back. It's just the way of the business.

"I felt pretty good in the first series. The puck maybe didn't bounce my way towards the end, but we were pretty effective with the line. I think he wasn't happy with the team performance. He chose to take me out of the lineup. That's how it is. I'll live with that. Obviously, it's frustrating. But I'll do anything I can to support the guys and be back in the lineup as soon as I get the chance. I'll try to make a difference when I'm back in there."