When the news broke earlier, Chicago Blackhawks fans on Twitter rejoiced. Brandon Pirri, whom some (including people on this very website) felt had been mistreated by the Blackhawks’ coaching staff, was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs to join the team on their upcoming six-game road trip. With the Hawks’ offense stagnating, Pirri’s inclusion should give the Hawks some much-needed energy. But he’s not the only thing the Hawks’ offense needs.
It’s been said before, but since it’s important, it will continue to be said: Pirri was the top scorer in the American Hockey League for the 2012-13 season. Since there is likely to be some roster shakeups once this season is over, regardless of outcome, it’s imperative that Pirri get his opportunity to gain valuable experience with the big-league team (the point of which has been made here, here and here). Pirri’s got plenty of offensive talent, but the reason he was sent down was because of his defensive deficiencies. This can be remedied by having Pirri center a line between the defensively-skilled Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad.
Because Michal Handzus is possibly over the hump (I say “possibly” because he could soon pull a Hossa and start performing like a 20-something-year-old), it’s about time Pirri has been given his chance. And while we’re talking about giving chances, perhaps it’s time to give the Jonathan Toews–Patrick Kane tandem another try. It worked in the playoffs. Putting them together helped get their offense rolling again. It would be wise to put them together now, along with either Patrick Sharp to make possibly the best (or one of the best) offensive line in the NHL, or Bryan Bickell to get the big guy going again.
Getting back to Pirri, however, head coach Joel Quenneville should cut him some slack. Sure, nothing’s wrong with being critical of the young man’s game, but it’s seemed as if Quenneville hasn’t given Pirri the support he needs. This should change. Of course, Pirri needs to make Quenneville question why he ever sent the young man down to Rockford in the first place. Nothing like the threat of going back to Rockford to get him to produce.
It’s go-time for this offense. Now that Brandon Pirri is back, it should bring in some changes that will have the team performing better as the season goes on. I like Pirri, so I’m relieved to see him back. He should be too, and he should make the most of this second chance. The offense needs a boost, badly.