“Doesn’t look good.”
That’s how Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville described Michal Rozsival’s status after the veteran defenseman suffered an apparent ankle injury in last night’s clinching game versus Minnesota.
For Chicago, which will take on either Anaheim or Calgary in the Western Conference finals, it puts an already heavily scrutinized blue line that much more under the microscope.
If Rozsival can’t play, he’ll likely be replaced by David Rundblad or Kyle Cumiskey, as Trevor van Riemsdyk had wrist surgery a month ago and was expected to be out eight weeks.
Rundlad, a right shot like Rozsival, is the favorite to step in. He skated a good amount of time with Duncan Keith, Rozsival’s most recent partner, during the regular season. But the 24-year-old played protected minutes, starting just 20.6 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone.
At the very least, after sweeping the Wild, the Blackhawks now have time to get fully rested up. Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya, and Niklas Hjalmarsson have played big minutes in these playoffs, with veteran Kimmo Timonen used sparingly. That’s unlikely to change going forward.
Yep, a bit of a theme today on PHT. We had our poll this morning, in which around 60 percent of readers felt the league needed to address the decrease in scoring.
A few quotes to consider while watching the video below:
“Fire all the goaltending coaches, and maybe things will get better.” — Jon Cooper
“If the goalies [are] getting bigger then the net is getting smaller. By refusing to change you are changing. Purists would say you can’t [make the nets bigger] because you’re changing the game, but by not changing you are changing the game.” — Mike Babcock
“There are no major announcements or major changes. There will be some recommendations, some things people will look at, there will be some more homework done, but you should continue to enjoy the game principally the way it’s being played.” — Gary Bettman
Hey, remember that game Thomas Vanek played for Montreal in last year’s Eastern Conference Final? The one where everyone teed off on him?
Because we’re getting a bit of deja vu.
With Minnesota trailing its series with Chicago, 3-0, a headline in the StarTribune reads: “Vanek’s vanishing act a glaring flaw for Wild.”
And, of course, there have been the tweets…
Vanek has no goals in nine playoff games — obviously not the production the Wild were hoping for when they signed him to a three-year, $19.5 million contract.
“Scoring goals is a big part of winning games and he’s a game breaker,” said GM Chuck Fletcher after convincing the former Gophers star to come home.
Tonight, with the Wild facing elimination, Vanek, the “game breaker,” will skate on the third line with Kyle Brodziak and Nino Niederreiter.
“I’d like to see that line be effective below the top of the circles,” coach Mike Yeo said, per NHL.com. “It’s not a team that has given us a lot of free ice from the top of the circles out, so how we play below the top of the circles, how we get down low, how we move our feet down there, is going to be important.”