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Blackhawks' Cumiskey excited to be playing

by Brian Hedger /

CHICAGO -- Kyle Cumiskey might not be playing big minutes for the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, but the fact he's in the lineup at all should be considered an accomplishment for the 28-year old defenseman.

After spending parts of five seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, he didn't play in the NHL for three seasons before latching on with the Blackhawks in training camp this season. He played 2011-12 in the American Hockey League with the Syracuse Crunch and spent the next two seasons with Modo Hockey in the Swedish Hockey League.

He played seven games in the regular season with the Blackhawks and spent most of the schedule with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Recalled as a depth defenseman prior to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he's now in the starting lineup after a season-ending injury to veteran Michal Rozsival (ankle).

"It's a little bit surreal, I guess you could say," said Cumiskey, who will play in his third straight game in Game 4 of against the Anaheim Ducks at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). "A couple months ago, I was playing down in the AHL, and I was maybe hoping to get a few more AHL games, just in the regular season or something. But I end up playing in a big series like this. It's really exciting and I'm very happy about it, obviously."

Cumiskey doesn't have a point but is averaging 10:47 a game for a team that's thin on defensemen who coach Joel Quenneville trusts. When Cumiskey gets a chance to take a shift, his speed can be a factor.

"I just wanted to prove that I can still play in this League and hopefully it will lead to getting a contract with the [Blackhawks] or with another team next year," Cumiskey said. "I'm not worried about that right now, obviously, but we'll just see what happens."

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