The Veteran Presence Will Be The Achilles Heel Of The 2014 Blackhawks


Mar 9, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus (26) before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In the Toews/Kane era the only thing holding them back is the love of veterans by Joel Quenneville and  in a larger part by Stan Bowman for enabling Quenneville to always use the “veteran presence” as a crutch to always fall back on by re-signing veterans instead of sticking to your plan (Example Brandon Pirri)

In 2012 which really wasn’t that long ago but also seems like a lifetime ago there is Sean O’Donnell on a failed pinch getting burned while the Phoenix Coyotes are scoring overtime winners or how excited the Hawks and Bowman were that Andrew Brunnette would be on the team that season which turned out to be a bust, and in the end that veteran presence ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Now it’s 2014 and Quenneville is still in love with the old guys errr veterans on a team built for speed and puck possession.  Michal Handzus even though he tipped in a shot last night is only effective for about 2 minutes a game during the penalty kill. When the game is being played 5 on 5 he is slow on the offensive end and even slower getting back on defense, but there is no reason to ever think that Quenneville will not play #26 for as long as the Hawks are in the playoffs. As one Twitter follower replied to us Handzus is simply Quenneville’s old torn security blanket, but outside of last night’s tip in and a couple of blocked shots he’s slows down the Hawks game and really kills whatever two wingers he has next to him that nights offensive production.

The other veteran that is in a got to go situation is Michal Rozsival.  Rozsival was huge last year solidifying the last defensive pairing and it seemed like the Hawks were saving him for the playoffs but he was hurt down the stretch and doesn’t look like the same player from last season.  To be honest Rozsival hasn’t looked good all season with turnovers and always looking full of panic with the puck instead of being strong with the puck that he was last season.  As stated last night during the game, I truly think Brookbank should be on the ice for Game #5  not for Nick Leddy but for Rozsival. The Leddy Brookbank pairing during the regular season wasn’t spectacular but they were effective.

Having veterans are nice, but in the end Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane are all the veteran presence that you need on a nightly basis and it’s up to Bowman next year to take away the security blankets from Quenneville like he had to when he traded John Scott at the trade deadline a few years back.

The veterans are not playing at the same level they were last season so it’s time that Quenneville starts playing the players on the roster that will pick up wins and lose the veterans and security blankets.  It’s the playoffs everyone will sell out on the PK it’s not worth a couple of blocked shots to sacrifice this shot at history.  The veterans play is history so let’s learn from it and move on!!

What do you think? Is it time to sit Handzus and Rozsival?

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