The Blackhawks on Tuesday sent center Brandon Pirri down to Rockford, while recalling forwards Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom. They also sent defenseman Michael Kostka, who’s been on injured reserve since Oct. 25 to Rockford for a conditioning assignment. He can play up to six days or three games in Rockford.
Morin and Nordstrom were needed because Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw did not make the trip to Minnesota with the team. Handzus has been battling an illness, and Shaw was slow to get up after a big hit along the boards late in Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to Dallas.
Since scoring a goal in three straight games from Nov. 14-17, Pirri had gone eight straight games without a point, seeing his ice time drop dramatically since Michal Handzus returned from injury and Pirri dropped from the second line to the third line. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville repeatedly said he was pleased with PIrri’s offensive game, but that his defensive play needed work. The AHL’s leading scorer last season, Pirri had six goals and five assists in 24 games with the Hawks this year.
“No matter what line he’s on, we know what he’s capable of,” Quenneville said on Monday. “We want him to progress defensively, offensively we know he’s going to be fine.”
This will be Morin’s third stint with the Hawks. He has three assists in nine games, receiving a similar evaluation about the state of his two-way game from Quenneville as Pirri did.
Nordstrom made the team out of camp as a defensive and penalty-killing specialist. He had one goal in eight games before being sent back to Rockford, where he had five goals and an assist in 15 games.