May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) reacts to a call against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Chicago Blackhawks defeats the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. The calendar has turned to September as we look at jersey numbers from past and present while counting down the days until October 9th and opening night against the Dallas Stars.
When doing a bit of background research for this article, I realized just now interesting the number 32 is in Blackhawks history. Here are some fun facts about this sweater number:
- It has been worn by 21 different players since 1984
- There have been at least four seasons when more than one person wore the number (and two seasons where it was worn by three different players)
- It was worn the longest by Steve Thomas (1988-1992; 2002-2003)
- It has been a part of the Blackhawks’ two most recent Stanley Cup Championship teams
- Related to the point above, it has been worn by two current Blackhawks: Kris Versteeg (who wore it from 2008-2010 and now wears 23) and currently by Michal Rozsival (who has worn it since he joined the team in 2012; he also wore the number for the Coyotes in 2011 and 2012)
Speaking of Rozsival, who just turned 36 last week (September 3), he is another example of a player that Coach Quenneville likes to add into the mix due to veteran presence. He sat out a number of games during the regular season last year, and saw a bit more action during the playoffs. However, although he ended a six-year personal playoff goal drought in first round against the St. Louis Blues, his post-season stats declined quite a bit from the prior year. In 2013, he was a +9; this year, he was a -1.
There’s no talk of Rozsival leaving town quite yet, but if he does continue to wear #32 for the Blackhawks in the upcoming season, he will most likely rotate with another player for the sixth D-man spot on the roster.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Faceoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on October 9th. We’re 32 days from the season opener. Is it October yet???