Michal Rozsival 'excited' to be back with Blackhawks


Michal Rozsival 'excited' to be back with Blackhawks

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Michal Rozsival knew for a while he wanted to return to the Blackhawks, if possible. That desire was fueled even more after his horrible season-ending injury last May.

“It was a tough ending to my season last year but a great ending to the organization and the whole city of Chicago,” said Rozsival, who (eventually) hoisted his second Stanley Cup last summer. “It was in my mind all summer long that I wanted to be back in Chicago for this year again.”

Now, he will be.

[MORE: Blackhawks' Scott Darling: 'I'm going to keep my foot on the gas']

Rozsival agreed to a one-year deal with the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon. reported that the deal carries a $600,000 cap hit.

With Rozsival, the Blackhawks get a defenseman who’s familiar with the system. What role he plays yet is uncertain, but with Rozsival it looks like the Blackhawks may have their top seven defensemen set (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor Daley, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Rozsival and David Rundblad).

“He gives you some safety, predictability. He doesn't have to play every game, but when he comes in, you're comfortable with him in all situations. It's reliability and obviously we kind of missed some important minutes without him there in some key situations in the playoffs last year,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s nice having him back and giving up some depth. We're still thin in numbers compared to other years, but having him back helps fill that void.”

For Rozsival, this deal wasn’t about the money.

“I didn’t even think about how much the contract would be worth,” he said. “I just wanted to be back with this group and help this team do something special again.”

Rozsival was en route to doing something special with the Blackhawks last season when he suffered a fractured left ankle in Game 4 against the Minnesota Wild. He underwent surgery on the ankle on May 12 and spent most of his summer rehabbing that ankle.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“It’s been tough, obviously. The whole summer was tough. But I’m feeling really, really good right now,” Rozsival said. “The last few weeks I’ve been feeling really good, so I’m excited. It gives me energy to work harder and harder now and excited to be back out with the boys.”

Granted, it’s going to be some time before Rozsival gets back to where he was late last spring. He’s doing light skates on his own right now; Quenneville said if Rozsival is ready by the end of training camp, “that would be great. It’s tough to say right now.”

But when he is fully ready, Rozsival gives the Blackhawks another familiar option.

“I always wanted to come back. I didn’t want to leave this game, leave this league with a bad injury. My thought process was always to get myself back in good shape,” he said. “This is my fourth year with the Blackhawks and I’ve had the best time of my life playing hockey here in Chicago.”

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.