Why Are The Blackhawks Still Wasting A Roster Spot on Rostislav Olesz?

Rostislav Olesz was acquired in a salary-dumping trade with the Panthers this summer. Brian Campbell took his enormous cap hit to Florida, leaving the Hawks with a player making $3.125M – less than half the cap hit for fewer years.

But why is Olesz still on the NHL roster in Chicago?

When I questioned the whereabouts of Olesz on Twitter after Sunday night’s game, I received two very telling responses from a couple of the best Hawks reporters in town.

Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times replied first with this:

Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald then followed with this:

It has become clear that Olesz is wasting time and space this season in Chicago. In the Hawks first 14 games this year, he has played less than 18 total minutes and is minus-one.

Reports out of practice on Monday are that Olesz could see action against the Blues on Tuesday night, a move that appears to be as much disciplinary directed at Bryan Bickell for a poor performance on Sunday night as it is a move to get Olesz on the ice. The last time Olesz played was on Oct. 13 against Winnipeg.

Hawks fans have seen, albeit in small portions, what Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith can do at the NHL level. Both have been effective scorers in their time with the Blackhawks, and both are playing well after missing the beginning of this season because of concussion issues.

Perhaps Tuesday night will be a notice to Bickell that he needs to play better. Or perhaps it’s Olesz’s last shot to keep himself in Chicago and not Rockford. With the Hawks special team struggles being magnified on Sunday night, this might be the time that one of these youngsters works their way back to the NHL.

6 thoughts on “Why Are The Blackhawks Still Wasting A Roster Spot on Rostislav Olesz?

  • November 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Olesz over Scott anyday. And Carcillo over Bickel on the third line would be a pounding improvement. Thats not to say Bickel – Kruger – Mayers would be as dangerous a fourth line as there is in the NHL. Try it, you’ll like it.

  • November 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Sure Bick played like crap last night, but the list (and it’s a long one) does not stop there with players that played crappy last evening.

    It is clear that if Bick is not fired up for a game (like he was in the playoffs when the “Rat Pack” was born) then he just kind of floats out there. What happened to him playing like he did during the first few games when he was making some decent hits and playing to his size?

    Was last night a harbinger of things to come? I don’t think so, but on the other hand there are some things that need to change and change quickly before a bad game turns in to something longer.

    As for Rusty, I can’t say anything good or bad against him because he hasn’t played enough. I can say that I have HEARD that he does play a fairly decent checking role but then again who knows. What I do know is that it probably wouldn’t be any worse than the performance by some players last night.

  • November 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Q basically blew up the entire lineup at practice today, so I think messages were being sent to underperforming players (Bickell, Brunette and Montador) and rewarding guys who have been playing well (Frolik and Carcillo) with an opporunity to do more on the top lines.

    I don’t know why Q has been so reluctant to play Olesz. I didn’t see anything from him in the few games he played to indicate that John Scott was a better option than him. I said from the get-go that Olesz would make a suitable third liner if the ‘Hawks wanted to move Bickell up or down.

    In this case, I think that playing Olesz on the third line is both a message to Bickell and a chance to see if they really have anything of value in Olesz, who I don’t think has been given a fair chance to prove himself in Chicago yet.

    With regards to Bickell, he wasn’t bad just last night but has been trending downward for the past few games. He has drifted away from the physically imposing play he began the season with. I’m all for scratching him until he gets his head out of his ass.

  • November 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I agree w/ a little change… Bruno out… Bicks 4th line… Frolik 1st line. Olesz and Carcillo checking line…

    I would even throw Olesz in front of net…. the only thing he looked good at in pre-season was trying to stuff the book from behind net.

  • November 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Brunette should NOT be on the “checking” line or shutdown line with Bolland. Now he’s simply going to be a liability there instead of the top line.

    Kruger should be playing on the 3rd line in his place, making that line Kruger/Bolland/Olesz

    4th line of:

    Kruger is a much better defensive player than Brunette, and should be playing on the 3rd line as he’s improving every game. Brunette is just the opposite and seems pretty washed up! I’d much rather see Morin or Smith brought up to see what they can bring that Brunette can’t anymore!!!

  • November 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I think Brunette was acquired largely as a PP specialist, to get those garbage goals or to set them up. Trouble is the PP has been so inept, they can’t get the puck down low to him. He does seem to be a problem when it comes to spotting him on a line however and the 3rd line, doesn’t make much sense to me. I’d rather he be used in spot duty and on all power plays and I think Q will eventually come to the same realization.

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