This time around, Joel Quenneville left no uncertainty. Defenseman David Rundblad will suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. It's quite the time for Rundblad to make his return to the team's lineup considering the Hawks will be eliminated if they lose again in this series.
Quenneville said prior to Game 4 that he told Rundblad to ready to play in the series and seemed to indicate he might play in that game. The lineup ultimately did not feature Rundblad, however, as Q opted to stick with Erik Gustafsson and Michal Rozsival as his last two defensemen.
Now Rundblad is indeed in the lineup, presumably replacing Rozsival, who looked gassed at times in the team's recent losses. The Blues have played a physical series that's taken its toll on some players. Rundblad may not seem like an ideal solution to that problem given his past issues with getting shaken by big hits, but it's clear the Hawks are not wasting any more time getting creative in trying to turn this series around.
The Hawks are down 3-1 and need to win three straight games to stay alive. Rundblad last played for the Hawks on Dec. 13 before getting re-assigned to Rockford. The team later loaned him to ZSC Lions of the Swiss league, but that team got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, so Rundblad returned. Now he'll hope to avoid being knocked out of the playoffs AGAIN as a member of Chicago.