When and where the Blackhawks will open up the Western Conference final has yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure, David Rundblad will be on the Chicago blue line when they do.
Rundblad is the benefactor of a fractured ankle suffered by Michal Rozsival in Game 4 of the ‘Hawks series against the Minnesota Wild. Rozsival will miss the remainder of the playoffs.
“He’s going to come in and play,” said Joel Quenneville per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Other guys are accustomed to playing significant minutes. Every game’s going to be different, but his play and the game and the score will play a lot into it.”
Rundblad has never played an NHL playoff game. In 49 games during the regular season the 24-year-old had three goals and 11 assists to go a long with a plus-17 rating while averaging 12:48 in ice time.
“You’ve just got to keep it simple,” Rundblad said. “Especially now, when I haven’t been playing. It’s way more faster, way more intense in the playoffs than the regular season. I’ve just got to go out there and just be quick, and do everything quick. Just keep it as simple as I can.”
Veteran Kimmo Timonen could also see a bump in ice time with Rozsival sidelined.
The 40-year-old has a plus-3 rating in 10 playoff games while averaging 9:25 in ice time – down from his regular season average of 11:59.
“If I get more, I get more. If I don’t, I don’t,” said Timonen. “That’s my role and I’m happy to do it. If it’s seven, eight, 12 minutes — that’s more than I was supposed to play this year anyway. I’ll take whatever I get. We’re going to the conference finals. The team is playing well. I’m really happy to be part of a winning team.”
Added Quenneville: “We’ll see. The play and the score and [Rundblad’s] play and how the other guys are managing their minutes [will be a factor]. It’ll all sort itself out.”
The Blackhawks await the winner of the series between Anaheim and Calgary.