This is not the first article on this site written about the guy, but it seems like Brandon Pirri has a few supporters. Not long after he was sent down to the Rockford IceHogs, Pirri got some support from Chicago Blackhawks fans. A Twitter hashtag, #FreePirri, which although it dates back to April, became popular among Pirri’s supporters. Fans took to Twitter, Facebook and even Tumblr to vent their frustration and confusion as to why one of the Blackhawks’ most popular young prospects was sent back down to the IceHogs after a promising November.
As it has been said, and should be said, Pirri was the top scorer in the 2012-13 AHL season, with 75 points. With the Hawks having to make some salary cap deals, Pirri was one of the names being floated around during the offseason as a potential roster spot. However, a lower-body injury forced him to make his return to Rockford before the season started, and he was replaced by Joakim Nordstrom. Just days into the season, the Hawks recalled Pirri from Rockford and sent Nordstrom down. In December, the opposite happened.
During this time, Pirri had six goals, five assists, a +6 rating and a 44 percent faceoff percentage. Now, Pirri’s face-off struggles do warrant concern. If Pirri is to become the Hawks’ next star, he needs to work on that face-off percentage, and he had been. So why was he being sent down?
Well, head coach Joel Quenneville was highlighting his defensive struggles and confidence. As mentioned in a previous article, this is pretty suspect. But looking at his total ice time prior to going back down to Rockford, one can see that it was going down, suggesting the coaching staff did not like what they saw from Pirri. Indeed, Pirri was in a slump at the time he was demoted. Still, you would think that after playing so well, they’d love him … apparently not.
To his credit, Pirri is handling the disappointment rather well and is looking to work on his game. Quenneville is a good coach, you have to give him that after winning two Stanley Cups. But it seems the way he’s handled Pirri has not been the right way. Quenneville benched Pirri after he made a rookie mistake that allowed the Calgary Flames to go up 2-0 during their contest on Thanksgiving Eve. That’s not a good way to instill confidence in a rookie.
By now, it’s become apparent that Pirri is outgrowing the AHL and needs to be on the big-league squad sooner, rather than later. But the Blackhawks’ coaching staff seems to prefer not to have Pirri on the roster. But, GM Stan Bowman once said that Pirri’s time is due. Might as well give him that second chance sooner, rather than later. All we are saying is give Pirri a chance.