CHICAGO — Right before the Chicago Blackhawks took the ice for Game 5’s morning skate, news broke out of Los Angeles that Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was being investigated for assaulting a Kings fan.
The fan, Clark Wong, filed a charge of battery. Crawford was not made available for comment and head coach Joel Quenneville made a brief statement but does not yet know the details.
"I just heard about it on my way over, first I heard of it," Quenneville said. "I’m not aware of the situation other than what you just said. I’m not worried about it right now. I’m worrying about the game."
TMZ Sports first broke the news. Wong, who was sitting behind the Blackhawks bench and heckling Crawford, says he thinks the water bottle contained backwash and caused serious irritation to his eyes and is claiming he requires medical attention.
He’s getting no sympathy from the L.A. Kings.
"Whoopdeedoo," said defenseman Drew Doughty.
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Doughty isn’t one to spar with fans, though he’s thought about it at times.
"I feel like I get booed in a lot of arenas. But it doesn’t bother me, it’s kind of cool in its own way," he said. "In Anaheim, there’s this one guy that always sat in the same spot and after every shift he’s just continually calling my name trying to chirp me, chirp me, chirp me. Eventually it boils over…
"I try to stay away from that and just focus on the game."
"Good luck with that (lawsuit)," Kings defenseman Alec Martinez said. "I guess it’s just like the disclaimer they give that pucks can leave the ice surface, I guess water and other (things) can too… it just comes with the territory."
Wong was later ejected from the game for taunting. Contrary to TMZ’s report, the L.A.P.D. says there is no formal investigation, meaning it could have already been dismissed.
It hasn’t been distracting for either team. Both sides agree it’âs more nonsense than nuisance.
Other morning skate notes
— Injured Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr returned to the ice for morning skate but head coach Darryl Sutter gave no timeline for his return.
"I couldn’t answer that," he said. "I’m not a doctor."
— In the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals. This year, the Kings overcame a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the San Jose Sharks and Chicago is looking at both comebacks as inspiration for another.
"That’s a big reason why we have the confidence," said forward Brandon Saad. "You see a lot of teams this year – LA did it twice – have won three games in a row."
"It’s pretty important for our confidence that we know we came back last year from the same kind of situation," said defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. "I’m confident that everybody knows we are able to come back in this series for sure. It all starts today here in front of our home crowd. We’re going to try to have our best game of the series. The whole group is confident that we’re going to be able to turn this around."
The Blackhawks don’t feel any pressure it all, they feel it’s on the shoulders of their opponents.
"We’ve got to relax," Saad said. "All the pressure is on them to close it out. We’re finally back home where we feel comfortable. It’s a big game for us but at the same time we’ve just got to have fun."