News: Coach Ken Hitchcock did not elaborate on the status of David Backes (head) for Wednesday's Game 4 against the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: We do know that David Backes wasn't on the ice for the team's Wednesday morning skate, so his status for the Blues' evening tilt against Chicago remains cloudy. When asked if Backes might play Wednesday, all Hitchcock would reveal was, "he wasn't available for the pre-game skate."
News: Ondrej Palat has been named one of three finalists for this year's Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL's top rookie. Analysis: He was a sensation this season, finishing second in rookie scoring with 59 points (81 games) and one goal behind the goal-scoring lead among first-year players with 23. He was nominated alongside fellow Bolt Tyler Johnson and the Av's Nathan MacKinnon.
News: Tyler Johnson was named a finalist for the Calder trophy for the NHL's top rookie. Analysis: Tyler Johnson tied fellow nominee Nathan MacKinnon for the rookie goal-scoring lead (24). And his 50 points were good for third among NHL rookies behind MacKinnon and fellow Bolt rookie and Calder nominee, Ondrej Palat.
News: Jonathan Toews, who scored a goal in Game 3 against the Blues on Monday, will remain with Patrick Kane on the top line for Game 4 on Wednesday against the Blues, the Chicago Tribune reports. Analysis: There is precedence for the postseason changeup. Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville went to the formula during the Western Conference finals against the Kings last season. "(Kane and Jonathan Toews) feed off each other, anticipating offensively, see plays (and) make plays," Quenneville said. "They're a threat off the rush. They're two pretty amazing players."
News: Matt Cooke has been suspended seven games for kneeing Avs' defenseman Tyson Barrie, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Analysis: Following Wednesday's hearing, the NHL's Department of Player Safety has decided that seven games would be the appropriate suspension for Matt Cooke. His suspension history likely came into play here, as well as the fact that Barrie will miss 4-to-6 weeks due to a sprained MCL as a result. Cooke has the option to appeal the suspension with an independent arbitrator, but it's currently unclear whether or not he will go this route.
News: Patrick Kane was joined with Jonathan Toews on the same line in Game 3 and will again be together on the top line for Wednesday night, Game 4, the Chicago Tribune reports. Analysis: There is precedence for the postseason changeup. Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville went to the formula during the Western Conference finals against the Kings last season. "(Patrick Kane and Toews) feed off each other, anticipating offensively, see plays (and) make plays," Quenneville said. "They're a threat off the rush. They're two pretty amazing players."
News: Duncan Keith missed Wednesday's morning skate, but will be in the lineup for Game 4 against the Blues on Wednesday night, the Chicago Tribune reports. Analysis: Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville said that it was just to give Duncan Keith a rest as he has logged a lot of minutes especially with Brent Seabrook suspended for three games.
News: Ryan Getzlaf has gone back to Anaheim to undergo treatment for his upper body injury, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: With the Ducks riding a 2-1 series lead heading into Wednesday, they feel that the better course of action for Ryan Getzlaf would be to get the treatment now, hopefully ensuring he'll be ready for the rest of the series. If there's any positive news that can be brought to light, it's that the current injury isn't related to the knee surgery Getzlaf underwent in March. The 28-year-old defenseman already has two goals and two assists over Anaheim's first three playoff games, so the team is hoping they won't be without his services for long.
News: Ryan Murray will not play in Wednesday night's contest against the Penguins, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Ryan Murray will sit in favor of Nick Schultz in Wednesday's playoff showdown. The 20-year-old logged 24 minutes during Monday's Game 3, finishing with a minus-2 rating for the Blue Jackets. It's currently unclear whether an injury is in play here, or if coach Todd Richards is looking for a stronger veteran presence in the lineup. However, we'll note that Murray did leave the morning skate early, which leads us to believe it might be the former reason.
News: Joey Hishon will make his NHL debut in Wednesday's Game 4 against the Wild, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: The former first-round pick will skate as the fourth-line center, while also seeing some time on the power play. Joey Hishon has been a little slow to develop for the Avalanche, but his insertion into action during the playoffs speaks to how highly the organization regards him.