ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Wild defenseman Keith Ballard harbors no ill will toward the Blackhawks' Brandon Bollig for the hit the winger put on him during Game 4 of their second-round playoff series.
Ballard, who has a history of concussions, left the game after Bollig's hit and did not return. He didn't play in Game 5 for precautionary measures before taking the ice for Game 6 on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center. Bollig was suspended two games, including Game 6, for charging.
"I don't think it was a good hit, but I also understand the circumstances," Ballard said before the game. "It was a big game, he was trying to generate some energy. I don't think it was a smart hit. But I don't think it was some of the worst ones we see. Sometimes the energy of the game, the emotion, the type of player -- everybody knows which players are out there trying to generate some momentum and be physical, and he just maybe (went) a little over the line."
When asked if Bollig said anything to him in the aftermath of the hit and injury, Ballard said: "Too much gets made of the whole, 'Did he text you?'"
Ballard really doesn't care.
"I honestly don't. It's fine," he said. "That's what happens. I've hit guys and they've been injured. I don't think it was overly malicious. It was probably a dumb play. That stuff doesn't really matter to me. It's part of the game."
Shaw watch: Forward Andrew Shaw missed his fifth consecutive game because of an apparent right leg injury he suffered in Game 1. Shaw did not make the trip to Minnesota.
Coach Joel Quenneville said he expected Shaw to begin skating "over the next day or so." His status for a potential Game 7 was murky after not skating for more than a week.
Keeping appointments: Wild defenseman Ryan Suter must not have been expecting his team to be playing this late into May.
Suter missed Tuesday's morning skate for the Wild because he had a dentist appointment he needed to keep, according to coach Mike Yeo.
"Scheduled cleaning," Yeo said with a laugh. "So that's why he was not there."
There was a familiar face back skating for the Wild, goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper had not played since suffering an upper-body injury in Game 7 against the Avalanche. Kuemper served as backup to Ilya Bryzgalov on Tuesday.
Sitting: Veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival was scratched for the second consecutive game for the Hawks in favor of Sheldon Brookbank. Also not in the lineup were Bollig, Shaw and Jeremy Morin (healthy).
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