Dave Bolland was not the best performance Saturday night against his former team when the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Toronto Maple Leafs at The United Center. That was due to the fact that proverbial eighth defenseman Michael Kostka scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal, and was his first career goal.
Now, it appears the Blackhawks will lose Kostka for 4-6 weeks. Despite being a healthy scratch, it appears the defenseman suffered a lower-body injury when he was hit during practice. The injury will not require surgery. “The extra guys were skating out there (on Tuesday) and he got hit,” that was the only comment Coach Joel Quenneville offered on the injury.
Despite being the last defenseman on the depth chart, Kostka certainly may have seen an expanded role since Joakim Nordstrom was sent down earlier in the week, and the Blackhawks have yet to call anyone up. Kostka has shown the speed and versatility to play forward and defenseman. The team has announced they will not make a roster move until they return from their two game road trip, which culminates in Tampa Bay tomorrow night.
In his absence, the roster stands at 21. Both Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Roszival will see significant time, and Brookbank could see the brunt of the work due to his relative versatility (Roszival has only put one shot on net in his three games) at the defensive position.
Recall that the Blackhawks lost Ryan Stanton to waivers earlier this season, and recently recalled Viktor Svedberg to a brand new contract, although he may not be NHL ready yet. Despite being the last man on the roster, Kostka’s unique ability means his loss is certainly more devastating than it appears.
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