The day after an annoying defeat to Dallas was not spent in idle reflection.

We saw two players recalled from Rockford, one player demoted there, a player on IR also headed for the Icehogs and two more players not making the trip to Minnesota.

Busy day at the office. So, what does it all mean?



Going Down:

To the surprise of exactly no-one, Brandon Pirri was reassigned to Rockford today. I’ve already gone into some detail about why this was inevitable, so no need to rehash it here. Ironically he had more than 10 minutes TOI last night. As I mentioned previously, I’m happier with Pirri getting minutes in Rockford rather than scratched in Chicago. Hopefully he responds well to this, because I still believe he’s got a future with the Hawks.


Coming Up: 

Somewhat more surprising is the recall of Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom from the AHL.  Morin followed a similar trajectory to Pirri while with the Hawks: steadily shrinking TOI and frequent benchings made it clear that he was surplus to requirements even before the addition of Kris Versteeg caused him to be sent down. He averaged 8.2 minutes TOI in his 9 games, mostly on the 3rd line. Nordstrom managed 8 games with the Hawks at 10.4 TOI/60 and record a goal and an assist. Both have been performing well in Rockford. I’m guessing that Q wants to take another look at Nordstrom (or else has washed his hands of Pirri) as this is a center-for-center swap. Nordstrom played on the 4th line when he was up, and his potential on the PK may be an influence here.


Condition, Rinse, Repeat:

Mike Kostka, absent since injuring his foot before the Florida game on Oct 22, is reportedly close to a return. He’s been sent to Rockford on a Conditioning Assignment, thereby sidestepping Waivers while getting some game-time. Kostka will have to return to Chicago or IR after a maximum of 3 games with the Icehogs. This makes me believe that we’re going to see much more of Sheldon Brookbank at forward: Kostka will have to clear Waivers if he’s sent back to Rockford and I don’t think they’ll take the chance. As long as Q believes that Brookbank can play on the wing, I suspect he’ll stay there with Roszival and Kostka rotating press box duties.



The final piece of today’s puzzle is the word that neither Michal Handzus nor Andrew Shaw have travelled to St Paul with the team. Handzus continues to be ill and Shaw is hurt: as usual details are sketchy but he got marmalised a couple of times last night (and had that wonderful, momentum-changing fight, remember?) so it would not surprise me in the slightest if he’s got a concussion.  That leaves the Hawks down two Centers. Obviously Nordstrom will slot in, probably on the 4th with Marcus Kruger moving up to the 2nd and.. well? Morin has played Center before. So has Patrick Kane. But I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen here. If Q announced Antti Raanta at 2C I’d hardly bat an eye at this stage.


What It All Means:

Of course, all of this leaves the Hawks over the roster limit to the tune of one player (this is before Kostka’s assignment ends, when he, too will count unless he’s waived)

I’d anticipate that we see Bryan Bickell going on IR , which will mean that he’s out for at least the next seven days (and as he’s not skating yet, that seems reasonable) or Andrew Shaw, if indeed he does have a concussion (and again, I’m thinking out loud here: no indication of the nature of his injury has come from the Hawks).

There’s also a school of though that the Hawks may be setting up for a trade: again, entirely possible but I’d consider it the least likely outcome.  I don’t know who is behind these moves (it’s Stan Bowman’s responsibility but he’s hardly acting unilaterally) but it’s something of a head-scratcher. Pirri hasn’t been spectacular but he’s at least had some experience playing with the 2nd Line and is, of course, a natural Center (less said about his FO% the better). I like Jeremy Morin a lot but don’t understand why he’s being recalled now. If they want to experiment (and this recall is an experiment) then I’m fine with that. Heading into a schedule filled with  heavyweights may not be the best time to do it, though.


More as it filters out (and you can guarantee there’ll be more).