“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.