Michal Rozsival, Brandon Bollig Hurting Chicago Blackhawks
The list of culprits for the Chicago Blackhawks‘ dreadful performance in Game 2 against the Los Angeles Kings is extensive, but several players — Michal Rozsival and Brandon Bollig in particular — stood out above the rest in their utter futility on Wednesday night.
Rozsival continues to be a turnover machine just as he has been all postseason long. He is also consistently flubbing pucks in the offensive zone and killing any momentum Chicago might be generating on the attack. It is quite out of character for Rozsival, who probably has the best pure puck skills of any Blackhawk defenseman not named Nick Leddy. Own-zone miscues have been the norm for Rozsival all season long; typically these are tolerable for a team’s sixth defenseman, but every mistake is magnified at this time of year.
Bollig has been truly atrocious, and his needless penalty in the third period of Game 2 helped spur the Kings’ comeback. He is a disaster in Chicago’s defensive zone; his lack of speed and unreliable positional play combined make him an even more blatant 5-on-5 liability than the lead-footed Michal Handzus.
The Blackhawks will benefit immediately when Andrew Shaw‘s return to the lineup nudges Bollig out of it. Sheldon Brookbank, who has been fairly impressive in limited action this postseason, would be a sensible choice to replace Rozsival until further notice as well.
The Kings will be the best team Chicago faces in the playoffs this year whether the Blackhawks reach the Stanley Cup Final or not. The team can’t afford to lug along dead weight any longer.