Thursday, December 5, 2013
Shaw, Handzus out, questionable for Friday
By Brian Murphy
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks centers Andrew Shaw (upper body) and Michal Handzus (illness) remain sidelined and their status for Friday’s game against Anaheim is questionable, coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday.
That creates yet another opportunity for well-traveled prospect Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom, a penalty-killing specialist who made the team out of training camp only to be demoted after eight games. Nordstrom will center the third line with Morin on his left wing Thursday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Shaw and Handzus remained in Chicago. Quenneville said Handzus, who missed Tuesday’s loss to Dallas, might be available against the Ducks but was not as confident about Shaw, who absorbed a hard check at the end of Stars game.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” Quenneville said following his team’s morning skate.
Goalie Corey Crawford will start against the Wild but Quenneville deferred until after the game whether he would play back-to-back nights when the Blackhawks play host to Anaheim at United Center.
This is Morin’s third recall from AHL Rockford. He debuted for Chicago Oct. 26 against Minnesota and played three games before being demoted. Morin was brought up again Nov. 2 and played six games before returning to the minors. In nine combined NHL games he has three assists and 15 shots.
“Every time you get sent down you’re disappointed but if you stop getting called up that’s when the issue starts,” said Morin, a 2009 second-round pick whom Chicago acquired from Atlanta in a 2010 trade. “I think you just want to keep getting the opportunity. They keep giving me opportunities. I’ve just got to make the most of it.”
Nordstrom, a 2010 third-round pick, was pegged to replace traded penalty-killing stalwart Michael Frolik. But his game needed more refinement and Nordstrom was demoted to Rockford, where he had five goals among six points in 15 games for the IceHogs.
He is versatile enough to play all three forward positions.
Chicago’s penalty-killing certainly needs a boost. The unit ranks 29th with a kill rate of just 74 percent.
“We can give him more penalty-killing time to learn that art, knowing he could really add something to our team,” said Quenneville. “We anticipated at the start of the year that he could be that guy. Hopefully, at some point he can grab that.”