Chicago called up two players from the AHL team in Rockford on Friday to appear out on the ice Saturday night: Brad Mills and Jeremy Morin. Mills and Morin were called up as replacements for Michal Handzus, who is out with an upper body injury, and Ben Smith, who was a healthy scratch. Coach Joel Quenneville commented on Handzus saying, “He could be out for a little bit, we’ll see.”
Mills, 30 years old, played for a stint with the New Jersey Sun Devils and impressed the Hawks in training camp. Mills said, “What I did here in the preseason and during training camp gave the coaching staff and some of the guys that haven’t see me play a taste of my game and showed what I can bring. Then going down to Rockford and being a leader there and playing well there both contributed.”
A player who described himself as a “hard-nosed, intense, physical guy” seems to be a great matchup for the Blackhawks. “I have a lot of speed and it helps me to close gaps and finish checks, create turnovers, and just make life miserable for the other team.”
The final cut the Hawks made out of training camp was Morin. He was slotted to play on the third line with fellow winger Bryan Bickell and center Andrew Shaw.
When the 22 year old was asked about being called up to the big leagues, Morin said, “It’s exciting. I’m just hoping to make the most of my opportunity.”
So, fresh faces on the team and suffering the loss of both Michael Kostka and Handzus is something that has affected the Hawks and their playing. It also seems like the coaching staff and players are really working at perfecting the lineups and making sure that every player can do well together.
Are the Hawks hurting? A little. But there is still plenty of time to hone in on the No. 1 spot in the standings. Chicago has the talent, they just has to have a chance to develop and flourish in the season. Hopefully a return to the Mad House will warrant a win for the Hawks.