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Blackhawks recall center Brandon Pirri from Rockford

Updated: January 27, 2014 8:32PM



The Blackhawks recalled center Brandon Pirri from Rockford of the American Hockey League before leaving Monday on their six-game West Coast road trip.

The Hawks have lost three consecutive games and have scored only one goal in each of their last two, so Pirri might provide an offensive spark. In 24 games with the Hawks this season, he had six goals and five assists and thrived on a line with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. But coach Joel Quenneville didn’t think Pirri’s defense was up to par and eventually dropped him to the third line before demoting him to Rockford on Dec. 4.

‘‘No matter what line he’s on, we know what he’s capable of,’’ Quenneville said shortly before the demotion. ‘‘We want him to progress defensively. Offensively, we know he’s going to be fine.’’

Pirri, the AHL’s leading scorer last season, had four goals and nine assists in 16 games with the IceHogs. He suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 30 and missed eight games before returning last week.

Pirri gives the Hawks some needed depth at forward. Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets. He was benched by Quenneville, who resorted to using defenseman Michael Kostka at right wing on the third line.

Pirri might return to his old spot on the second line, bumping Andrew Shaw back to the third line, or might spell struggling Michal Handzus on the third line.

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus



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