Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Happy Birthday Michal Rozsival

By Gail Kauchak
Feb 25, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Today we say Happy Birthday to the oldest member of the Chicago Blackhawks, Michal Rozsival

We have celebrated a few Chicago Blackhawks birthdays this summer, including those of defensemen Duncan Keith and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Today we give birthday wishes to another defenseman, Michal Rozsival. One could say this is pretty special, because good ol’ Rozy is now officially the oldest member of the team.

That’s right; we now have a 38-year old defenseman in our midst.

Now, you might think that Rozsival has always been the oldest, but remember Kimmo Timonen? He played in 34 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2014-15 season, at the ripe old age of 40. Rob Scuderi also suited up for 17 last games last season. He is just slightly younger than Rozy, turning 38 years old at the end of December. Recently-acquired Brian Campbell is one year younger, at 37 years of age. Right winger Marian Hossa is also 37 years old.

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Actually, Rozsival is not too far removed from being one of the oldest active players in the NHL. According to an article written last year by The Hockey News, the oldest player in the league right now is Jaromir Jagr, who is now 44 years old.

Patrik Elias and Dan Boyle are both currently 40. There are also a number of players that are 39, including Shane Doan, Zdeno Chara, Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton.

Rozsival was drafted in 1996, and has been playing in the league since the 1999-2000 season. He has played with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes and now the Chicago Blackhawks. He came to the ’Hawks in 2012, when he signed a one-year contract for the 2012-13 season. After winning the Cup that year, Rozy re-signed with the Hawks for the next two years.

In the 2014-15 season, Rozy was still plodding along with the team. He recorded one goal and 12 assists in 65 regular-season games. The above video is an example of what Rozy can do when he’s really on his game.

He then appeared in 10 playoff games, but sustained a horrific ankle injury while trying to keep up in the second round against the Minnesota Wild.  Warning: This video isn’t pretty.

Although he was done for the year, the Chicago Blackhawks won it all again; which means Rozsival got his name engraved on the Cup for a second time. Everyone thought he would retire on that high note. But instead, he underwent grueling rehab, and the ’Hawks re-signed him to a one-year contract for the 2015-16 season.

He’s the old man who won’t go away, because guess what? He once again was signed for a one-year contract this season with the ’Hawks, to the tune of $600,000. The good news is this is chump change to the Blackhawks, and will easily fit within the salary cap. The bad news is that I’m not sure poor Rozy has anything left in the tank to offer.

Nobody really seems to understand why the Chicago Blackhawks keep on giving Rozsival chance after chance. The best I can come up with is that he is an insurance policy of sorts for coach Joel Quenneville. He’s a veteran presence, and a bit of a crutch.

Even though he’s not very good, at least he knows the system. He can be the backup plan on the third pairing in case youngsters like Erik Gustafsson or Viktor Svedberg don’t pan out.

Poor Rozy. I wonder what it’s like to know you could very easily be a healthy scratch, or have very limited playing time, for the majority of the season. He could even potentially get sent down to the Rockford IceHogs. Well, I guess it’s better than the alternative, which would be retirement.

Next: 5 Reasons for Pessimism This Year

For whatever reason, Rozsival is not ready to hang up his skates just yet, and the Chicago Blackhawks have made a commitment to him for the year. So, let’s bid him happy birthday, and good luck in the upcoming season. Perhaps he simply wants to retire in style after hoisting that Cup just one more time. As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

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