The Chicago Blackhawks recalled Brandon Pirri from the IceHogs Monday. With the team looking bored and/or uninterested during their current woes, the addition of the offensive-minded 22-year old could be what the Hawks need. Chicago is about to embark on a west coast road trip in which they play four opponents that could make noise in the playoffs.
Three of the teams are in California. Anaheim, San Jose, and Los Angeles all hold playoff spots at the moment and have all taken much needed points from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville has watched his club score nine goals against their last five opponents, and Brandon Pirri has scored his fair share when he is in the lineup. The rookie has 10 goals in 40 games with Chicago and Rockford in varying roles.
The addition of Brandon Pirri should signal the end of defenseman Mike Kostka’s time at forward. The experiment, another one of coach Q’s poor roster decisions, ends after only seven minutes. The move will also give aging veteran center Michal Handzus time to rest. Bryan Bickell has also been a healthy scratch for no good reason. Pirri could center Bickell and another struggling winger, Kris Versteeg. Another likely pairing with Brandon Pirri is Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. If Quenneville wants to hide his defensive flaws, he could have Marian Hossa play the right side.
As you can tell, the gifted center will have plenty options to flourish during his third stint with the Chicago Blackhawks this season. It is up to Q to use him correctly aka every game. Quenneville loves his veterans and will reward them unnecessarily (Sheldon Brookbank on a wing, barf), but now is the time to release his hulk-like grip on Pirri’s leash and watch the offense flow. If the veterans are to play prominent roles going forward, let players such as Brandon Pirri (and maybe Teuvo Taravainen or Adam Johns in the spring) cut their teeth now. Pirri is in the future plans, Handzus, Brookbank, and Kostka? Not so much.
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