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
The Blackhawks third defensive pairing gets an old face back tonight when the Blackhawks face-off against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Michal Rozsival will make his first regular season appearance of the season for the Blackhawks and will return to his third defensive pairing spot.
Rozsival has been a part-time regular season player since signing as a free agent before the lockout in 2012. During the shortened season he split time with Sheldon Brookbank, but during the 2013 playoffs he was extremely good and didn’t miss a game all the way through the playoffs and it earned him a 2 year contract.
Last year Rozsival didn’t just split time with #ProjectBrookbank he also split it with Mike Kostka and David Rundblad which for one makes it hard to understand the coaching staff’s dislike for Nick Leddy who was the staple of the third pairing having to carry one of these guys on a nightly basis, but like 2013 Rozsival played in almost every playoff game but the results were not as good. His puck possession didn’t return and he turned the puck over a lot which made fans actually want Brookbank in the lineup.
This summer most Hawks fans were hoping the Hawks would dump Rozsival instead of Leddy but it wasn’t to be and an early season injury has kept Rozsival out of the lineup until tonight. With the limited and poor play of Rundblad in the first three games it’s almost like fans are excited about the return of Rozsival. The team and coaching staff must be excited having sent Kyle Cumiskey through waivers and down to Rockford in advance of tonight’s game.
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The question really is does Rozsvial have anything left in the tank? He’s 36 with over 800 NHL games in his rear view mirror. His game took a turn for the worse last season, can he level off or even get back to the 2013 playoff Rozsival? We do know he won’t be on the ice too long the way Joel Quenneville is coaching right now, but will he at least be better than Rundblad for 8-10 minutes a night?
Rozsival is back tonight! Are you excited?
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