As expected, winger Andrew Ladd — a valuable part of the Hawks checking line — will sit out Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
“[Ladd is] not playing,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We still expect him to play. He’s progressing well. But [Tomas Kopecky is] in tonight.”
Kopecky said he is looking forward to playing on the Hawks line of irritants — none bigger than center Dave Bolland.
“[Bolland] is the type of guy that likes to get under your skin, and I like that, too,” Kopecky said. “We’re just going to be pests out there.”
Ladd left Game 4 of the Western Conference finals early after a collision and missed practice again Friday and the Hawks’ morning skate on Saturday.
Kopecky, a scratch the last five games, practiced with Kris Versteeg and Bolland this week.
“He gives them some predictability,” Quenneville said. “He’s got some patience, sees the play, sees the ice. He can check as well.”