Tomas Kopecky Proving To Be a Key Player for the Chicago Blackhawks

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2010

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 7: Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 07, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Much of the talk surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks during their series with the Vancouver Canucks has involved the reemergence of Dustin Byfuglien as a force in front of the net.

However one player that many people have overlooked during this series is forward Tomas Kopecky.

Unlike Byfuglien, Kopecky has not had a hat trick during these playoffs or had a target on his back, but Kopecky has been a consistent producer.

Kopecky has played a style similar to that which Byfuglien has been asked to play by getting in front of Roberto Luongo and making his life in the crease a living hell.

He has taken abuse from the likes of Luongo, Kevin Bieksa, and Alexander Burrows but has stood his ground. He has taken some licks but has been rewarded with a goal and an assist.

Throughout the regular season Kopecky's role with the team was rather undefined, as he spent time in the top six, the bottom six, and even as a healthy scratch.

Even with him being moved throughout the lineup he was able to post career numbers with 10 goals and 21 points in 74 games.

However, in the playoffs he has found his role on the second line with Patrick Sharp and country man Marian Hossa.

Kopecky understands that he is not in the lineup to score goals or rack up tons of points; rather, he is there to create havoc and create time and space for Sharp and Hossa.

Another major plus that Kopecky brings to the Chicago lineup is that he has been to the Stanley Cup finals twice with the Detroit Red Wings and has won a Stanley Cup, which brings important knowledge to this still young and inexperienced Blackhawks team.

Tomas Kopecky may not get all the credit and publicity that many of the Blackhawks players receive but the 'Hawks might not be in the same position that they are in without him.