As the second round of NHL playoffs rage on, the Chicago Blackhawks can take advantage of extra rest and practice time until their Western Conference Finals opponent – either the Anaheim Ducks or the Calgary Flames – has been decided. There is at least one more, and possibly three more games left in that series. Factoring in time between rounds, the Hawks look like they will have at least a full week without playing a game.
Of course that is great in terms of being the team with the freshest legs in conference finals, but it’s even more important in another aspect: deciding what to do for defense.
As we are all painfully aware, the player that fans loved to hate all season, veteran Michal Rozsival, went down during that fateful Game 4 on the road against the Minnesota Wild. And he went down UGLY. I’m not going to post the GIF here, but you can easily find it on twitter if you want a lesson in how human anatomy is typically not supposed to work.
Although Rozsival’s play during the regular season had fans calling for Coach Quenneville’s head on a platter at times, even #32’s biggest detractors had to admit that he had been solid in the postseason thus far. But after Thursday night’s mishap, the organization confirmed yesterday that a fractured ankle requiring surgery meant Rozsival wouldn’t be seeing any more ice time for at least the rest of the playoffs. Ironically, some fans ended up getting what they wished for, but in a pretty awful way.
Now the organization is faced with the thankless job of figuring out who will fill the roster space, and whether they can realistically add any more ice time to the Top 4. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Johnny Oduya are all getting pretty crazy minutes as it is, especially Keith. Fans may not be happy no matter what they decide to do, but one thing is clear: whether the Hawks move on to the Stanley Cup Finals, let alone whether they are able to win their third cup in five years, will largely come down to the moves that Quenneville & Co. make on the blue line.
Blackhawks get a much-needed breather to rest and prepare for their Western Conference Final opponent (CSN Chicago)
Michal Rozsival’s loss will test Blackhawks’ depth (ESPN)
Weighing the pros and cons (and cons) of the potential Rozsival replacements (Committed Indian)
Blackhawks biggest asset is the ability to adapt and weather any storm (Chicago Sun-Times)
Andrew Shaw has the ultimate Hockey Mom (Chicago Tribune)
Minnesota Wild still trying to figure out what more they can do to beat the Hawks (CBS Minnesota Wild Blog)
Crucial New York Rangers goal in OT keeps the Washington Capitals from clinching series (Blue Line Station)
Henrik Lundqvist is now the 8th goalie with 100 playoff appearances for the same team (Bleacher Report)
Anaheim Ducks bring home a potentially series-clenching Game 5 against the Calgary Flames (Pucks of a Feather)
Detroit Red Wings allow Mike Babcock to test the waters with other teams through the end of the month (NHL)
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem