The only bad blemish from the Minnesota Wild series was watching Michal Rozsival fall to the ice and break his ankle in Game #4. We have been very critical of Rozsival for most of the season and wanted to see him out of the lineup, but no one should ever cheer an injury, and his loss does put burden on Joel Quenneville’s defensive core group which was coming together at just right time in the playoffs.
The question is now who replaces Rozsival in the lineup, and later today at Chicago Blackhawks practice we should get a glimpse of who that player is that Joel Quenneville puts into the #5 defensive spot. The spot is more critical than normal due to the limited number of minutes Kimmo Timonen is playing these days, even in Game #4 with Rozsival out Timonen barely hit the ice at Xcel Energy Center.
David Rundblad- 49 games 3 Goals 11 assists 14 points +17
Rundblad is the front-runner for some obvious reasons. He’s played the most games during the season, he has a right-handed shot like Rozsival, he’s a good puck moving defenseman with a pretty good shot when down on the offensive end.
The downfall of Rundblad is that towards the end of the season he became a turnover factory. His passing was way off and created a whole lot of chances for the opposition in games where he played. The question here is trust! Does Quenneville trust him enough to play him in the Western Conference Finals.
Kyle Cumiskey-7 games 0 points -1 rating
Cumiskey is the dark horse that everyone seems to want in the lineup. Cumiskey spent most of his season anchoring the Rockford IceHogs defense. He had 2 goals 18 assists and +6 for the season. Cumiskey and Quenneville have familiarity from Colorado and his speed is his biggest asset. I thought he played pretty well the few games he was in the lineup, but his left handed shot and short stay in Chicago will probably have him still sitting in the pressbox.
Michael Paliotta- 1 game 1 assist.
Paliotta played in the season finale and looked pretty good in the process. Our staff writer Tim Lively already did a post on why not Paliotta? The thing about Paliotta is he’s a big guy that wouldn’t be afraid to throw his body around, something that Rozsival would do in spots. This move is highly unlikely but plausible.
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Stephen Johns- Rockford
The prize student in Rockford is having a solid postseason with 4 goals and 5 assists including an overtime winner. Johns probably would have gotten a look in Chicago sometime this season if he had stayed healthy. He’s the future Brent Seabrook, but I find it hard to believe Quenneville would call him up and play him without a single game of NHL experience in a huge spot in the playoffs.
Who do you think should replace Rozsival in the lineup?
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