The Chicago Blackhawks are no stranger to line changes this season. One of the changes that seemed to be to the team’s benefit was the calling up of Brandon Pirri in the light of injury sustained by Michal Handzus.
There is no doubt that Pirri was doing good things for the Hawks, but questions of his defensive ability have sent him back down to Rockford with the return of Handzus to the roster.
To be fair, we all saw this coming. In a perfect world, Pirri and Handzus would have been able to share the second line center position, but this is not a perfect world, it’s professional hockey. Sometimes in professional hockey, or any sport for that matter, decisions have to be made.
While Pirri has indeed been a great asset to the team offensively, I’m far more willing to side with the coaching staff on their decision to demote him to Rockford than to side with angered fans who thought he was really something special.
Don’t get me wrong, Pirri is talented, and as has been pointed out, he is in need of some more solid coaching to get him into shape for a professional NHL contract. However, NHL ice is not the place for that coaching to occur.
The Blackhawks are in the midst of defending their Stanley Cup title. To do that, they need to surround themselves with the best possible players at all times, and sometimes that involves sending a guy who’s game needs a little work back down to the minors.
It is of great benefit to the team that Pirri was able to come fill in and to put up scoring opportunities, make assists and really become a part of the team. Again, he is undoubtedly talented. That being said, returning to Rockford is not the end of his career. The young player has time to develop his game in the areas the Blackhawks’ coaches are concerned with.
Overall, it can be heartbreaking to watch a player who did fairly well during his time in a Blackhawks’ sweater have to go back to the minors, but it will be a time for Pirri to get more ice experience and groom his skills.
But it is important to remember that, by no means, have we heard or seen the last of Brandon Pirri.