The one thing John Tortorella brings to the table is making his veterans accountable for their actions on the ice. The first player reprimanded was Nikolai Zherdev. In what is sure to become an on-going occurrence, Tortorella made his second veteran accountable for his actions. This time, it was struggling defenseman Michal Rozsival.
Did any of you notice that Michal Rozsival did not see the ice in the third period? I didn’t watch the game, but it was brought to my attention. Also brought to my attention was that Rozsival had a chance to lay out Ovechkin in the first, passed up on it, and got saved by the buzzer as Ovechkin broke in alone on Hank. That is just one incident that probably sticks out in fans’ heads, but it is just one of several bonehead plays by Rozsival since preseason that has made him the new whipping boy ’round these parts.
Tortorella, who I guess had grown tired of seeing Rozsival mess up all the time, benched him in the third period. This move takes guts, as Rozsival is one of two veteran defensemen charged with helping the rookies adjust to the rigors of the NHL game. But, this move also needed to be made. Rozsival has been atrocious since the preseason began. He has not played a physical game, playing more like a pussy(cat) than a hockey player. He has been horrible at the point on the PP, to the point that a 19 year old has taken his spot. He turns the puck over, and is often out of position in the defensive zone.
Even Wade Redden, who was horrible last year, has been pretty solid defensively so far this year. But Rozsival doesn’t appear to be able to adjust to John Tortorella’s system. It just makes you wonder what will happen if Rozsival doesn’t find his game. Will we be seeing Corey Potter or Bobby Sanguinetti sooner than expected? Will that quest for a 7th defenseman be a little more rushed? There are still some intriguing names out there. Rozsival needs to find his game, and quick.