To Keep Tomas Kopecky or Not To Keep Tomas Kopecky

Mikal Elyse@@One4theDaggerCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Philadelphia Flyers during Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

All types of Chicago Blackhawk fans are ready to abandon Tomas Kopecky’s salary in order to re-sign Antti Niemi. Niemi was the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winning goalie, but hardly proven. The only All-Star series performed by Niemi was versus the San Jose Sharks.

Tomas Kopecky has established himself over the years, and even more so after his first season with the Blackhawks. Kopecky played from 2005-2009 on the Detroit Redwings. An injury from former Chicago Blackhawk Jim Vandermeer in the 2006-2007 season limited his ability to shine his true talent. Tomas Kopecky not only hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head this summer, but is two seasons removed from kissing and hoisting the Cup as well.

Kopecky won the Stanley Cup in the 2007-2008 season with the Red Wings. The past three seasons he has played 70+ games, and just came off a career year. He played in the Winter Olympics for Slovakia with teammate Marian Hossa, had 21 points in the regular season and 8 points in the playoffs. It may not seem like a good deal, but Kopecky contributed to the Blackhawks team in numerous ways.

Kopecky has become a key player for the Blackhawks. He began to play the boards and work the cycle well, controlled the puck like a natural through the neutral zone and had shown superb net presence when Dustin Byfuglien was off the ice. Now that Byfuglien will never touch the United Center’s Ice in a Blackhawks Uniform, this may give Kopecky his chance to show what he is made of.

Another key to Kopecky’s accomplishments is Marian Hossa. The two have played together for the past two seasons, are both Slovakian and both participated in the Winter Olympics together on the Slovakian team. You can begin to see Kopecky’s technique become more and more like Hossa’s. It is a smart approach at this style; Hossa’s style is one various teams cannot take control over. If Kopecky can fully grasp Hossa's technique on puck handling, how could one not want him on their team?

With a portion of the Blackhawks team gone, Kopecky is a vital piece. Even though he is not as big as Dustin Byfuglien, Kopecky is known for his aggressive approach all over the ice. If Kopecky is given the chance he can focus his energy in front of the net. He may not have the size, but he has the motivation and the talent. This is now Tomas Kopecky’s time to shine and prove he is here to stay as a Chicago Blackhawk.