Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 6:45 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Rostislav Olesz is just looking for his opportunity.
The new Chicago Blackhawks forward is fully healthy after having right knee surgery six months ago. Hes not sure what line hell be on, whether or not hell be a net presence guy or what role hell have on special teams. It doesnt matter.
Anything. Ill do anything the team needs me to do, he said. Whatever it takes.
The word that comes up with Olesz a lot is potential. Hes had his injuries, including that knee and a sports hernia in early 2009. Hes had two 14-goal seasons, including 2009-10 when he played in 78 games.
But hes been skating for a while now, passed his physical on Friday and said hes way past the struggles he had immediately after surgery.
It was really tough because my right leg was not healthy, not 100 percent with the strength, Olesz said. But I feel comfortable on the ice now. Ive got the new brace and theres no limitation at all.
So now, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound Olesz has to tap into that potential. Joel Quenneville said he watched Olesz on Saturday and didnt mind him. It should also help Olesz to have fellow Czech and former Florida Panthers teammate Michael Frolik here with him.
He has familiarity from the Florida days here and hopefully that can help his transition quickly, Quenneville said. This guy can play. Hopefully he can elevate his game where hell be a big part of our team.
Olesz has talked plenty with Frolik, who came here last February and completed his transition with a strong postseason. Frolik said Olesz could be advantageous with his strength.
Hes a big body. Hes very strong and hes hard to get off the puck in the corners, Frolik said. The injuries have stopped him (in the past). So far hes been good and he can play 100 percent again.
Defenseman Steve Montador, who also played with Olesz in Florida, echoed that sentiment.
He has a lot of skill mixed with a very strong body, Montador said. He can control the puck, work the puck along the walls. He may not be the biggest height-wise but hes a thick guy. You put all that together and if hes comfortable here, can get it going, hell have a lot to offer.
Oleszs time is now. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday it was just a matter of figuring out where Olesz fits into the lineup. If he can find his niche, the potential could turn into consistent performance.
Yes, its coming. My best hockeys coming, Olesz said with a smile. Everything will be new for me and Im really looking forward to it.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information