ST. LOUIS — Andrew Ladd made it back to St. Louis in time for Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ladd had flown back to Chicago on Wednesday to be with his wife, Brandy, who was in labor with their third child. The team announced that she hadn’t delivered the baby, and Ladd returned to Scottrade Center.
The baby isn’t due until May 23, Ladd said a few weeks ago, joking that the timing wasn’t bad until he was traded from last-place Winnipeg to the Blackhawks.
If Ladd hadn’t made it back to St. Louis in time, Richard Panik would have drawn into the lineup and skated in Ladd’s spot on the top line, alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Panik spent much of the past month skating on the right side of that line in Hossa’s absence.
“It would be exciting,” Panik said after the morning skate. “Those are really good players, [two] of the best in the league. Obviously, if I play, we will have some opportunities. I”m just going to play my game and work for those two guys, and hopefully it’s going to work out.”
Panik has six goals and two assists since being acquired by the Hawks from Toronto in January, and still could get a chance to play later in the series.
“I think he’s got some skills,” Quenneville said. “I think he’s good in the puck area. He can make plays. He can be strong on the puck. Makes some nice plays with it as well. So there’s upside offensively and the consistency of his game is the part that we want to make sure that is there, because that will get him more ice time and get him more quality, as well.”
The Hawks will be without Duncan Keith, who is serving the final game of his six-game suspension.
Contributing: Mark Potash