I’m doing a daily review of each Chicago Blackhawks player and giving out grades based on performance during the 2013-14 season thus far. Today, we examine Brandon Pirri.
The acquisition of Peter Regin just prior to the Olympic break makes Pirri’s chances to remain in Chicago’s lineup even slimmer than they already were. Pirri has been treated somewhat bizarrely by Joel Quenneville all year long, being benched for apparent defensive miscues that are characteristic of most young players. Learning by playing is, of course, the most effective method, but Quenneville has seemingly deemed that repeatedly demoting Pirri to Rockford and routinely playing him for less minutes than Brandon Bollig even while up with the Blackhawks is the best route.
In light of the unpredictability of his coach, Pirri needs to be cut a good deal of slack for what has been a rather underwhelming 28 games. He has rarely had the same linemates for more than a game or two at a time, and has looked afraid to take any chances on offense lately. This is linked to a distinct dip in confidence; shuffling around the lineup and being sent down several times to the Rockford IceHogs for no reason has evidently had a severe negative impact on Pirri’s game.
Perhaps the time in Rockford during the Olympic break will allow Pirri to regain what a volatile, rather unfair time in the NHL this year took away. Time will tell.
Final Verdict: C-
There have been a lot of performance-damaging factors outside of his control this season, but Pirri is still a professional and has provided a good deal less than what was expected of him.