Blackhawks

Blackhawks: David Rundblad will replace Michal Rozsival

5-10-david-rundblad.png

Blackhawks: David Rundblad will replace Michal Rozsival

David Rundblad probably had the same look on his face that most did upon seeing Michal Rozsival fracture his left ankle on Thursday night. It was enough to make anyone wince.

“I just felt really sorry for Rozy,” Rundblad said on Sunday. “He’s been playing really good so far. That injury, too, it’s just painful to watch. I just feel bad for him.”

At the same time, injuries are part of any hockey regular- or postseason — so are the opportunities for others that come from those injuries. So with Rozsival out, Rundblad is in.

Rundblad will take Rozsival’s place when the Blackhawks begin the Western Conference Finals. When the next round begins is still up in the air — three other second-round series are still in progress, including Anaheim-Calgary (Game 5 between those two is tonight). Until then, Rundblad will get in a few more practices to get prepared, which he says will keep the rust factor low.

[RELATED: Michal Rozsival lost for the season]

“Especially if you get a couple of practices like this, it’s pretty quick to get into it again,” Rundblad said. "I’ve just got to try to do everything game-like, even in practices. It won’t take that long.”

Rundblad is more of an offensive defenseman; he had three goals and 11 assists in 49 games this season. Coach Joel Quenneville said Rundblad won’t have a problem on the other side of the puck.

“I think he's been fine in his own end,” Quenneville said. “I think offensively he has some presence as well. He has some direct plays entering his own zone. Just make sure that you make the simple and the safe play and the obvious play.”

When Rundblad does play, it’ll be his first game in more than a month — he last played on April 11 vs. the Colorado Avalanche. He’ll have a familiar partner in Duncan Keith; the two played together a few times this season.

While Rundblad is coming in for Rozsival, will he truly replace Rozsival? Will he log the same amount of minutes? Rozsival, who had a solid second round, was playing anywhere from 15-18 minutes a night. The Blackhawks leaned heavily on their top four defensemen — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson — after Rozsival was hurt on Thursday night. Kimmo Timonen has played limited time, recording 5-9 minutes through most of the playoff games. Whether or not he logs more time remains to be seen.

It won’t be surprising if the top four still take a bulk of the minutes moving forward. Duncan Keith, who leads the Blackhawks in ice time this postseason (30 minutes, 37 seconds per game), said they’re ready to do play more.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Get the latest Blackhawks gear here]

“I think every game is different and how we play each series is different,” he said. “We have guys that are capable of playing a lot of minutes and guys that are capable of stepping up and playing when they get asked to play.”

Asked about how much Rundblad will play, Quenneville said, “he's gonna come in and play and minutes are dictated by how he plays and how the score of the game goes. Other guys are accustomed to playing significant minutes. Every game's gonna be different, but his play and the game and thescore will play a lot into it.”

Rundblad hated to see a teammate get hurt. At the same time he knows he has to do something with this opportunity.

“Of course, you always want to help the team and play as well as you can,” he said. “Games are so tight in the playoffs, there’s not much room for mistakes out there. I’ll just try to keep it simple and play as quick as I can.”

BRIEF NOTES

  • Andrew Desjardins did not practice today due to illness. Joakim Nordstrom took his place on the fourth line at practice.

  • Defenseman Michael Paliotta, who the Blackhawks signed late in the regular season, did not practice on Sunday. Quenneville said Paliotta’s gone home to train.

 

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula had a successful college hockey career. He compiled 127 points (62 goals, 65 assists) in 162 career games across four seasons at North Dakota, and served as an alternate captain during his senior year.

But before committing to college, Caggiula was being recruited by the Erie Otters of the OHL and there could've been a moment where he played with Connor McDavid and current teammates Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome all at the same time.

“I remember telling Sherry Bassin, the GM of Erie, how I was going to go to college," Caggiula said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "He kept reiterating that, 'at 16 years old, we’re not going to be that great. But at 17, we’re going to be a little bit better, but not great. But at 18 and 19, those are going to be your big years and we’re going to have a really good team and we’re going to surround you with good players.’ I mean, that’s two years in the future so it’s hard to really see that.

"Looking back at it now, the players that I could have played with, they had some pretty talented players go through Erie. Even Dylan Larkin was an Erie draft pick and ended up going to Michigan. It could have been a pretty talented team there so it’s kind of funny to see how it all works out. We’re all here today coming from different paths so it’s pretty cool.”

Any chirps from the guys about his decision now?

“Yeah, Connor [McDavid] used to make fun of me all the time, you know? ‘Oh, we would have won the Memorial Cup if you would have joined the team!’ and all that sort of stuff," Caggiula joked. "We talk about it a little bit just here and there saying, ‘what a team we could have had and imagine who we would have been playing with and now we’re all here together. What if we all would have started in Erie together and now we’re here together?’ It just would have been a pretty cool story. It’s obviously something that we can’t control but it’s definitely something that you can look back at and laugh at.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

When Jeremy Colliton was hired as the Blackhawks head coach in November of 2018, he immediately became the youngest NHL bench boss at age 33. In fact, he was even younger than some of the guys he was coaching (Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, to name a few).

It was a weird dynamic at first, but quickly normalized once the locker room realized how bright of a hockey mind Colliton had/has.

Calvin de Haan offers a unique perspective. After being acquired by the Blackhawks in the summer, an interesting storyline was brought to light. He and Colliton actually played together during the 2011-12 season with the New York Islanders organization, where Colliton served as the captain of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

While he may not have expected it to come this quickly, de Haan isn't surprised to see Colliton behind an NHL bench at such a young age.

"Looking back on it now, you realize that he has the qualities to be a successful coach," de Haan said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Smart guy, very methodical I don't envision him being a yeller or a screamer but he was a guy who always kind of spoke and everyone kind of listened. I'm assuming it's going to translate to his coaching style and just judging by his personality you can see why he's climbed the ranks pretty quick. I'm really excited to play for him."

Check out the interview in the video above.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.