Michal Rozsival Gets Olympic Nod, Will it Affect His NHL Play?
Olympic rosters continue to be unveiled, with the Chicago Blachawks likely featuring up to a half dozen Olympians on their NHL roster. Patrick Kane is already a member of Team USA, with Jonathan Toews being one of the staples of an absolutely elite Canadian team.
Today, it was announced that for the first time in his esteemed veteran career, Michal Rozsival would be an Olympian representing the Czech Republic. A gold medal winner from the 2010 IIHF World Championships, Rozsival has a bevy of experience on the world stage and along the blue line in the NHL.
Since acquiring Rozsival two years ago, the Blackhawks have made their intentions clear with Rozsival in that he would be used sparingly until the playoffs, ensuring he is 100 percent. The team even began to cycle eight defenseman into their six-man rotation this season with the addition of Mike Kostka alongside Sheldon Brookbank.
To this point though, both Kostka and Brookbank have left much to be desired, meaning Rozsival is the only defenseman the team can rely on alongside Nick Leddy in big games. With the season more than half way over, the team has done all they can to preserve Rozsival.
Although the Olympics should have minimal effect on physical wear and tear thanks to the larger ice surface, the Blackhawks should continue to use Rozsival scarcely until at least the 60th game of the season.
As is, Rozsival has only appeared in five games since Dec. 15, but has remained effective. Two of his five points on the season have come during that stretch, while the Blackhawks defense is at its best with him in the lineup. Managing Rozsival’s time on ice has been difficult this season, a task that his inclusion on the Czech Olympic roster has only made harder. Yet, come playoff time, the situation will be resolved, and Rozsival will ideally be playing his best hockey.
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