Blackhawks recall Pirri, demote Hayes

Blackhawks recall Pirri, demote Hayes
Brandon Pirri

After five games, it’s clear that Joel Quenneville isn’t happy with the Blackhawks’ second line center situation.  After beginning the season with Michal Handzus on the line, centering Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, he’s ready for a change.

Brandon Pirri, the preseason favorite for the second line center job, has been recalled, while struggling winger Jimmy Hayes has been sent to Rockford.

Pirri, who missed most of the preseason with an injury, was one of the last roster cuts the team made heading in to October 1st’s opening game.  Had he not gotten injured, it’s safe to assume he would have made the team from the start.  On paper, he’s the best fit to center a line with elite offensive talent like Hossa and Sharp.  Handzus got the job done in the playoffs last season, but it’s unrealistic to think that the 36 year old veteran could play to that level for 82 games and playoffs.

This is the chance of a lifetime for Pirri, who led the entire American Hockey League in scoring last season.  If he can stick, he could be up permanently.  To do that, he’ll have to play responsible hockey on both ends of the ice.  Quenneville hasn’t been impressed with his two-way game in his brief calls up so far.  He worked hard this offseason to improve that element of his game.  If it’s improved enough, maybe the Hawks have solved the seemingly endless search for a full time second line center.

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