It must be getting frustrating for Brandon Pirri supporters.
Pirri had a hot streak in November and looked like he was going to be the Chicago Blackhawks‘ answer at second-line center. Now he’s being sent down to the Rockford IceHogs while Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom have been called up. It seems as if the return of Michal Handzus only sped up Pirri’s demotion to Rockford.
While it’s nice to see Morin and Nordstrom get another chance, the fact of the matter is that Pirri got the short end of the stick. If you’ll recall, Pirri was sent back down to Rockford at the beginning of the year, but Handzus’ injury allowed him to make the jump to second-line center. The Blackhawks’ offense clicked with him, and he had an incredible knack for scoring. He deserves better than to be shunted back to Rockford.
But it seems as if Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville isn’t too impressed with Pirri, citing defensive issues and his face-off struggles as the reason to send him down. This part makes sense as he had a face-off percentage of 44.1 percent. But Pirri’s offensive numbers — six goals and five assists — makes the defensive reasons rather suspect. In any case, it seems as if the Blackhawks’ coaching staff has had Pirri on a short leash for some time.
While it may have been in Pirri’s best interest, this is not good thinking. Pirri is supposed to be one of the Blackhawks’ next stars, but the coaching staff’s lack of confidence is hurting him. Rookies make mistakes all the time, and Pirri is no different. Sending him down to Rockford after his time in the NHL is not the best move and he should be coached instead. Granted, he could use his frustration as motivation to show the coaching staff he’s more than ready for the big leagues so this might not be too bad.
While it’s certainly possible that Pirri will make it back to the big time, the Blackhawks are still treating him the wrong way.