Brandon Pirri will stay after ‘OK’ day
BY Adam L. Jahns email@example.com December 27, 2011 8:46PM
Brandon Pirri (37) will remain on a line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. | Getty Images
Updated: January 29, 2012 8:16AM
When Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville describes a player’s performance as “just OK,” it’s typically a precursor to a scratch or a trip to the Rockford IceHogs.
But rookie center Brandon Pirri remained with the Hawks on Tuesday and still on a line with wingers Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
“We mentioned [Monday] night that we liked his game prior to Christmas and [Monday night] was just OK,” Quenneville said. “Consistency is what we’re looking for, but there is an upside offensively. Defensively, I think he’s improved from when we saw him last time [at the start of the season].
“There’s an upside to him having a nice future in the league. He’s got some versatility of being really good offensively, but I still think there’s a defensive part of his game that can complement that.”
Pirri was plus-1 in 12:55 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, but he lost four of six faceoffs and failed to get a shot on goal. Against the Montreal Canadiens a game earlier, Pirri had an assist and was plus-2 in 16:37.
The 20-year-old took Marcus Kruger’s spot with Sharp and Hossa when Kruger went down with a concussion. He’s likely to stay there for at least one more game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings. Kruger is experiencing concussion-like symptoms after getting roughed up by the Blue Jackets.
“I feel good about [my game],” Pirri said. “I’m up here, and this is where I want to be and to be a consistent NHLer. I’m working on my consistency, and I think my game has come a long way.”
Pirri called it “a lot of fun” to play with Sharp and Hossa. He said his goal is to use his speed to generate more space for them.
“They keep me upbeat and my confidence high,” Pirri said. “At the same time, they make it real easy on me. I kind of just have to give them the puck and get open. They’re real good with a young guy like me. I’m not nervous around them at all.”
Daniel Carcillo skated for the second consecutive day since suffering what’s thought to be a head injury against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 14. He said he feels good enough to play against the Kings, but Quenneville will decide after Wednesday’s morning skate.
“The lungs are burning less today, which feels nice,” Carcillo said.
Forward Patrick Kane (flu) and defenseman Steve Montador (maintenance) missed practice Tuesday. Kruger (concussion) also sat out and is less likely to play Wednesday. Quenneville said he didn’t know whether it was one hit that brought back Kruger’s symptoms.