While the Blackhawks have made no formal announcement about Jeremy Morin, all signs point to the 19-year-old winger being loaned to Team USA for the World Juniors Championships that begin the day after Christmas.
Morin was still playing in Rockford as of Saturday and scored the tying goal late in a game the IceHogs won 2-1 in overtime over Lake Erie.
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Hawks general manager Stan Bowman sounded as if the positives of playing in the tournament outweighed Morin missing a few weeks in Rockford.
"I think it's a pretty special tournament, to be considered to play against the best kids in your age group," Bowman said. "It can give you certainly a lot of confidence.
"There's nothing wrong with the American League at all, but this is a unique opportunity for him. It's the last time he'll ever get a chance to play there against the best kids under 20 in the world.
"A lot of times guys can come out of that tournament with a boost to their confidence, because not only did they play in it but had a good tournament. It can kind of springboard them for the second half."
Bowman had said Morin wouldn't go to the world juniors if he was needed in Chicago, but it's looking as if Marian Hossa and possibly Viktor Stalberg could return from injuries Wednesday against Nashville, and Ryan Johnson recently was signed and brought up.
"I like the way he has played, absolutely, but we're not going to try and jam him in the lineup ahead of some other guys," Bowman said. "The guys who are out are pretty good players as well.
"We know that he can play up here and if a need comes, whether the team is struggling or an injury need, then we wouldn't hesitate to bring him back."
Cullimore still here:
Defenseman Jasson Cullimore was in the lineup again Sunday, a day after clearing waivers.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville explained it was a business decision by the organization to put Cullimore on waivers Thursday, apparently either to judge if there was any interest in the 38-year-old veteran or to pave the way to return him to Rockford this week.
"You're seeing different decisions made that are more business decisions than hockey decisions sometimes, so you don't want to read too much into it and look ahead," Quenneville said.
"That's kind of where we're at and where he's at. He's a good pro and he was good about it."
Marian Hossa skated again Sunday morning as he continued to move toward a possible return Wednesday against Nashville.
Hossa has missed the last nine games with a lower-body injury.
Viktor Stalberg, who has sat the last two games with a suspected head injury, also skated Sunday.
"With Hoss and Viktor there's a chance we'd like to see those guys playing possibly against Nashville," Quenneville said.
Patrick Kane didn't skate Sunday after tweaking his ankle again in practice Saturday.
"The last couple times he didn't get through practice so we figured to give a little time here and see where it's at," Quenneville said.
The earliest the Hawks could hope to have Kane back is Dec. 26 against Columbus.