Illness keeps Versteeg out of Game 1 lineup

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg was a late scratch for a second consecutive playoff game Friday, but it wasn’t for the same reason as the first time.

Versteeg sat against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their first-round series because Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was unhappy with Versteeg’s play. The reason Versteeg was taken out of the lineup right before Game 1 of the Hawks' second-round series against the Minnesota Wild on Friday was because Versteeg wasn’t feeling well.

“Steeger was going to play last night,” Quenneville said Saturday. “He was under the weather, so after warmup we made the change.”

Versteeg had skated with the fourth line during the team’s practices on Wednesday and Thursday, during its morning skate on Friday and during pregame warmups Friday night.

Versteeg has two assists, a zero rating and averaged 14:46 of ice time in five playoff games this season. He had 10 goals, 19 assists and a plus-9 rating for the Blackhawks during the regular season after being acquired from the Florida Panthers in November.

Derby day: Quenneville was close to having a whole lot more interest in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Midnight Hawk, a horse owned by Quenneville, Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Kitchen and Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice, had been in the running for a Kentucky Derby until recently.

“Yeah, I was hoping,” Quenneville said. “That would've been special, but our horse is a pretty good horse. He's raced against a lot of the horses that are going to be in there today, so we'll watch and we'll see."

Quenneville said Midnight Hawk would not race in the Preakness.

“No, no, he's out for a little bit,” Quenneville said. “He's got a little small injury right now.”

Quenneville was jokingly asked whether the injury was an upper-body or lower-body one.

“Uh ... lower body,” Quenneville said laughing. “Not much upper body.”