When Michal Rozsival stepped onto the ice Saturday night in St. Louis he was feeling excitement and nerves at the same time. Both were understandable emotions, considering that it was his first game since suffering a gruesome broken left ankle against Minnesota during the second round of last spring’s playoffs.
But Rozsival got over those feelings, playing 13:20 and giving the Blackhawks some much-needed stability and experience on the blue line. And just as importantly, he felt better and more comfortable as the game progressed and stopped thinking about his ankle.
“It was great to be out there again and play a game,” Rozsival said Sunday before the Hawks faced the Calgary Flames. “It’s obviously, after that long, it wasn’t feeling great at the beginning but as the game went on I felt better and better.”
Beyond just returning to the ice, Saturday helped Rozsival clear any mental hurdles that were built because of the injury.
“I think that was part of the game last night. The first game after a long time, it’s basically a little test as well,” Rozsival said. “You can practice all you want but it’s just not the same as playing in a game that you have to go all-out and do unexpected movements and react to different things. But overall I thought like the ankle held up pretty well.”
Rozsival and Duncan Keith were both in the lineup Sunday.
The Bickell update
Bryan Bickell has gotten off to a strong start in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, scoring three goals and adding five assists in four games. Obviously, those numbers trump what he did with the Hawks before he was reassigned Nov. 2 after going scoreless in seven appearances despite chances all over the lineup.
“Hearing a lot of good things,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think besides the offensive production I think his game has been good.”
Whether that means he gets his chance to return to the Hawks remains to be seen, since Bickell probably has to show more than four good games at a lower level.
“We haven’t talked about (Bickell returning) yet,” Quenneville said, “but certainly, definitely very encouraging.”
The NHL department of player safety won’t be handing any supplemental discipline to Jonathan Toews, Marko Dano and St. Louis’ David Backes for their roles in incidents during Saturday’s game.
That topic, however, didn’t seem like one Quenneville wanted to talk about too much.
“I don’t go there. There’s a lot of things happening last night,” Quenneville said. “Just move on. I didn’t hear anything, so…”
Andrew Desjardins was a scratch for the second straight night. The other scratches were Viktor Tikhonov and David Rundblad.
CONTRIBUTING: Mark Lazerus