New Blackhawk Rostislav Olesz glad to be in a hockey town
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org July 16, 2011 10:40PM
Rostislav Olesz says he’s a physical player. Penguins star Sidney Crosby would agree. | Eliot J. Schechter~Getty Images
Updated: October 29, 2011 12:35AM
One of the biggest questions for the Blackhawks this summer is, what exactly did they get in return for Brian Campbell?
They traded the defenseman and locker-room leader to the Florida Panthers for Rostislav Olesz?
For one, they got a player glad to be in an Original Six city after playing the first six seasons of his career in front of lackluster crowds in Florida.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Olesz said Friday at the Blackhawks Convention. “It’s a great hockey city, a lot of fans. I’m enjoying this. You can feel the excitement from the fans.”
Olesz was selected seventh overall by the Panthers in 2004 but has yet to reach his potential, never scoring more than 14 goals.
The 25-year-old Czech winger also missed the rest of last season after injuring his knee Feb. 25. But the Hawks expect him to be fully recovered by Sept. 17, when training camp begins.
The Hawks haven’t specified how they expect to use Olesz, but he and general manager Stan Bowman have had a couple of brief conversations about what the team is looking for.
“He asked me what kind of player I think I am and where I think I can play,” Olesz said. “He talked about why he traded for me here and what they want. I play physical hockey. It’s just part of my game, so hopefully it is a good fit for both sides.”
One player in particular who can’t wait for training camp to start is Jeremy Morin.
The 20-year-old winger missed the rest of last season with the Rockford IceHogs after he suffered what is believed to have been a concussion Jan. 15 but officially has been called an “upper body” injury by Morin and the organization.
“I had never had an injury like that; I never had missed more than two games in a row before,” Morin said. “It was different for me because it was one of those things that takes awhile to heal, so I just waited it out.”
Beach gets message
Whether it was meant as a wake-up call or not, that’s how Kyle Beach interpreted being snubbed for the Black Aces during the playoffs after being included in the postseason call-ups a year earlier.
“It’s kind of sending a message to you, ‘Come on, you have to give us something here,’ ’’ Beach said. “Obviously it’s disappointing, but it allowed me to start my training early, and I’ve tried to use it as motivation this summer.”
Seabrook on the move
Defenseman Brent Seabrook, a Vancouver-area native, said he had to move to get away from all the craziness that engulfed the city during the playoffs when the rival Canucks made their unsuccessful run at the Stanley Cup.
“I had to get out of there,” Seabrook said. “I moved up to Kelowna and took possession of our place right before the finals started. It was good for me to get out of the city. It was pretty crazy there, lots of stuff going on. I had golf clubs in front of my front door after we lost to Vancouver and things like that. So it was good to get out of the city.”
Contributing: Adam L. Jahns