The Chicago Blackhawks found out last week that they would be without defenseman Michal Rozsival for the remainder of the playoffs, and on Sunday they took the first step toward replacing him as David Rundblad slotted into the team’s lineup during practice.
Rundblad, who has not played since the regular season finale on April 11, was paired up with Duncan Keith during the practice, taking Rozsival’s slot on the pairing. Brent Seabrook was once again paired with Kimmo Timonen, and Johnny Oduya skated with Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Rundblad had three goals and 11 assists during the regular season for the Blackhawks, but he could never nail down consistent playing time as turnovers and bad defensive decisions prevented Joel Quenneville from putting too much trust in him. His puck-handling can be an issue at times as well, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts his game to his new role in the postseason.
Even though Rundblad will be paired with Keith, that doesn’t mean he’ll be playing nearly the amount of minutes that his linemate will. The Blackhawks have made it a point to ride their top four defensemen hard during these playoffs, and they’ll continue to do so without Rozsival in their lineup.