It’s come down to John Scott. The 6-8 enforcer will be in the Blackhawks lineup Sunday night for Game 3 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t say Scott is in after his team’s morning skate … but Scott is in. Bryan Bickell is out after cutting his wrist in Game 2 in Vancouver, and so is Tomas Kopecky who suffered an upper-body injury in the series opener.
Scott will play forward. His goal? Get in front of goalie Roberto Luongo, cause traffic and ultimately raise hell.
“I’ll definitely be there at some point in the game, causing chaos for Luongo,” Scott said. “I’m jacked this is my first playoff game. I’ve been around a little bit with Minnesota, but this is my first game. I’m pretty excited. It will be a good time.”
Scott last played March 20 against the Phoenix Coyotes. So it’s been while since he’s hit someone or fought someone. It’s been tough for him seeing the Canucks take runs at the Hawks’ top players this series.
“It’s one of those things where you don’t like to see your top guys get banged around,” Scott said. “Hopefully, I can get in there [Sunday night] and kick around a couple of their defensemen.”
The Canucks, though, aren’t too worried about Scott. They’ve shown a lot more poise this postseason than the last two years.
“When a guy is 6-8 and challenges you, but can’t skate? You usually you say ‘No,’ go around him and score,” Bieksa said. “That’s what you usually do. There’s a couple of other 6-8 guys in the league. Why doesn’t he challenge those guys to fight? A couple of other tough 6-foot-8 guys.
“We’re going to be physical regardless of who they have in the lineup. Our game plan has been to initiate, not retaliate.”
Scott has a history against the Canucks too. Last year, he walloped Alex Bolduc in a fight, and always has maintained his dislike for them.
“I’ve been watching the two games pretty closely; I know what’s been going on,” Scott said. “I’m going to talk to some guys and hopefully have a couple hits myself.
“I beat up a couple of their guys a couple times [with the Wild]. I think that’s in the back of their heads hopefully. If I can get someone to go [Friday night], I’ll be happy to oblige.”
But first and foremost, his objective is to get in front of Luongo. The Hawks have had a hard time sustaining traffic in front of Vancouver’s net.
Scott isn’t a fast skater and his minutes will be limited, but the hell he could potentially raise could benefit the Hawks, especially if it backs the Canucks off.
At least, that’s what they’re hoping.
“I’ve got a big body,” Scott said. “Hopefully, I can get to the front of the net [and] take his eyes. We’ve let him see too many pucks. The rebounds usually gets swept out of there.
“I know I’m not going to play big minutes, but if I’m out there, I’m going to try to get in front, take his eyes and pounce on a rebound or something.”
Here’s a video of Scott’s fight against Bolduc last season: