With Dave Bolland suffering from an undisclosed upper-body injury and Ben Smith still recovering from a concussion, the Blackhawks recalled rookie center Brandon Pirri from the Rockford IceHogs on Thursday.
Bolland practiced with the team Thursday, but will not play in the season opener. He also won’t travel with the team. Smith was placed on the injured list with Viktor Stalberg (leg).
“I felt good. It felt nice,” Bolland said after practice. “Being out for a week, you still have those little jitteries coming. I think I’m just catching up to speed with the boys.”
Bolland didn’t talk much about his injury, but said it has nothing to do with his concussion from last year or his back , which required surgery two years ago.
“You always wish you could stay healthy,” Bolland said. “But clinks and little things can come from nowhere. You never know what’s coming for you next game or practice.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll likely use seven defenseman against the Stars on Friday, leaving Jamal Mayers and Rostislav Olesz as the only two players on the fourth line. Daniel Carcillo will sit out the first two games because of suspension from last season.
The defensive pairings at practice included: Duncan Keith – Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson – Brent Seabrook, Sami Lepisto – Sean O’Donnell and Steve Montador – John Scott.
Pirri centered Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik on the Hawks’ third line at practice. Pirri, 20, had an impressive showing in preseason play, scoring four goals and finishing with five points in five games.
”[Pirri has] got some skill,” Quenneville said. ”He’s been a producer his whole life. He sees plays. He’s quicker in his game, and he’s patient with the puck more than he was. He has a nice finish around the net, so it’s been a nice camp for him.”