This season while the Blackhawks take on the Wild again the playoffs, Regin is playing for the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, in the Calder Cup playoffs.
The 29-year-old Regin, who has played 243 career NHL games, assumed he would be playing in the NHL for the Blackhawks this season after re-signing with them in the offseason. But there ended up not being a spot for him in the Blackhawks’ lineup out of training camp, and he has spent a majority of his season with the IceHogs.
Regin didn’t expect to be in Rockford or the AHL, but he also didn’t expect to rediscover his love for hockey in those places. Once he got over the disappointment of the NHL, he’s had a blast being in the AHL. He plays top minutes, plays on the power play and special teams, has experienced individual and team success and is now enjoying his own playoff run.
“Right now all I focus on is the playoffs here, and I’m having fun with it,” said Regin before the IceHogs defeated the Texas Stars in a series-clinching victory in the first round on Wednesday. “That’s the positive that came out of this season. I really enjoy playing the game of hockey. I know I have the ability to play. I’m excited for whatever the future brings. I love playing the game. That’s the most important thing.
“Obviously I don’t think anybody wanted this. But now I’m here, and I’m having a good time here and having fun with it. I’m not bitter. Obviously, would I have liked it different? Probably, but I’m not bitter, and I understand that sometimes management and coaches have to make decisions, and there’s only 20 guys or 22 guys who are going to like it. There’s always the odd man out.”
Regin is known for his positivity. Regin is right up there Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta for being the most positive-thinking person in the organization. Regin admitted there were moments he was down over his situation this season, but he fought through them.
Regin instead focused on the upside. He had a chance to be a star player and took advantage of that opportunity. He had 10 goals and a team-high 31 assists in 69 games.
“It’s fun scoring goals sometimes and making good plays and getting some points,” Regin said. “But I think that’s my personality and mindset. I try to make the best of the anything. Now I’m here, so I try to make the best of this situation. If I had been in Chicago and only have 10 or 15 points or whatever it would be because I would play a different role, I would have been stoked about that. I think it’s about some excitement in whatever situation you’re put in and try to make the best of it.”
IceHogs coach Ted Dent has appreciated Regin for that. Dent has been around enough to know it doesn’t always work out so smooth.
“He’s had a great attitude from Day 1 here,” Dent said. “He understands the business side of things more than any player we have here and accepted it. We had a couple good talks and very mature about it. You know, the fact is I think he accepted it. A lot of guys don’t accept it, and they fight with it mentally. He’s a big player on our team. He’s an important piece of the puzzle. Hopefully, he had some fun with it, and we’re still having fun.”
Regin is unsure about his future and isn’t worried about it. His contract with the Blackhawks will expire after the season. Even though the hope of being called up this season is over and he may not be with the organization come next season, Regin has still watched every Blackhawks playoff game that hasn't conflicted with IceHogs games and is rooting for them to win the Stanley Cup.
“I still feel like I’m a big part of the organization,” Regin said. “I also realize I’m not a young prospect. I know what the situation is. I still cheer for them."