Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four
Updated: July 9, 2013 6:22AM
He didn’t have any points, he didn’t log the most minutes and he had one shot on goal, according to official statistics. But call defenseman Michal Rozsival the unsung hero of the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 on Thursday.
The attention just came a day later.
“He was like an old pro out there,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Rozsival, who logged 25 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time with top defensemen Duncan Keith suspended.
“He probably didn’t get the chance to play those kind of minutes, but he certainly probably could have handled it. Last night, he got a chance to get a little more opportunity to play, played all situations. He did a great job. He did what we were hoping he’d do.”
By no means is Rozsival the fastest skater, but his defensive awareness and steady play kept the Kings out of the Hawks’ zone.
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson might have garnered the most attention for the strong play of the Hawks’ blue line without Keith, but he was very admiring of what Rozsival did.
“You can just see, he’s been around for a long time and he knows where to put pucks and he knows where the centermen are in the ‘D’ zone,” Hjalmarsson said. “He’s just a really smart player that I personally can try to learn stuff from, too, just the way he makes situations out there look really easy.”
No. 2 returns
The Hawks were happy with how they played without Keith, but they’re even happier that they’ll have the 2010 Norris Trophy winner back in their lineup for an elimination game Saturday.
The Hawks saw how tough it was for Keith to sit out.
“He was pretty pumped up when we came in the locker room there [after the win],” Hjalmarsson said. “We were all happy. But he was probably one of the happiest guys. I would say he was jumping around and giving us fist pumps. It was fun to see. I can just imagine. It’s always worse watching than actually playing the game.”
The Hawks showed a killers instinct in the third period of Game 4, holding the Kings to two shots. That included time with Jonathan Quick pulled for an extra attacker.
“Our team game had a real purpose to it, whether it was puck placement, protecting the puck, good forecheck, good zone time in the offensive zone, odd-man rushes having to defend,” Quenneville said. “There’s four defensemen that played a ton in that period, and they did an excellent job in front of Corey [Crawford].”
Penner can play
The NHL announced that Kings forward Dustin Penner would not be disciplined for his elbow to the head of center Dave Bolland in the third period of Game 4.
In a tweet, the league stated, “Penner/Bolland: A reflex forearm prior to a collision. Not predatory. Not retaliatory. No history. No Supplemental Discipline.”
It looks like the Kings still will be without center Mike Richards in Game 5. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said “it is still doubtful at best” that Richards plays.