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Pirri demoted; Nordstrom, Morin recalled to Blackhawks

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The Blackhawks sent center Brandon Pirri down to Rockford on Wednesday, while recalling forwards Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom. They also sent defenseman Michael Kostka, who has been on injured reserve since Oct. 25, to Rockford for a conditioning assignment. He can play up to six days or three games for Rockford.

Morin and Nordstrom were needed because Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw did not make the trip to Minnesota. Handzus has been battling an illness, and Shaw was slow to get up after a big hit along the boards late in the 4-3 loss Tuesday against the Dallas Stars.

Since scoring a goal in three consecutive games (Nov. 14-17), Pirri had gone eight straight games without a point. He saw his ice time drop dramatically since Handzus returned from injury and was dropped from the second line to the third line. 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.

“No matter what line he’s on, we know what he’s capable of,” Quenneville said 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 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.


Twitter: @marklazerus

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