It took only one game for the Blackhawks to start the Rockford shuffle. With the statuses of Dave Bolland and Ben Smith up in the air, the Hawks went to the farm again to fill out their roster.
The Hawks assigned preseason standout Brandon Pirri to the IceHogs a day after he played in their season-opening 2-1 loss against the Stars in Dallas on Friday. Marcus Kruger was recalled in his place for Saturday’s home opener against the Stars.
Pirri wasn’t bad at all in Friday’s defeat. The center played 15:43 and started out on a line with Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell before coach Joel Quenneville made changes to all his lines. He also was on the ice in the final minutes as the Hawks’ rally fell short. He assisted on Nick Leddy’s goal.
Kruger had a disappointing training camp after coming in with high hopes after last year’s playoff run. But the organization remains real high on him.
“Marcus started slow. I think everybody noticed that,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “The one thing we haven’t yet seen over here, but he definitely has, is offensive ability. Once he adds that to the mix, he’s going to be a big part of this team. We’re still real high on him.”
The Hawks did not hold a morning skate prior to Saturday’s game after flying in late Friday from Dallas. Quenneville remains hopeful that Bolland (upper body) could play in the home opener. The Hawks opted to dress seven defensemen in their first game.