Joakim Nordstrom doesn't even have a stall in the Blackhawks' dressing room at Johnny's Ice House West, but he did have a regular spot on the fourth line at practice Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Nordstrom, whose versatility and chemistry with fellow Swede Marcus Kruger improves his chances of making the team, wasn't reading anything into his fourth-line status.
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"Everything is a new experience," said Nordstrom, who finished last season playing 11 games at Rockford after competing in the Swedish Elite League. "I hang out a lot with (Kruger) and he helps me out. He's easy to play with and supports me both on and off the ice. That makes it a lot easier."
Nordstrom enjoys playing a defensive role and killing penalties, two things that could earn him a spot on the opening-night roster.
"That's a role I've been playing for two years back home," Nordstrom said. "So it's something that can fit me here."
Coach Joel Quenneville has been impressed with Nordstrom going back to the scrimmages at Notre Dame.
"I like his speed and he's a young guy with good instincts on both sides of the puck," Quenneville said. "I thought he has done a good job penalty killing in the situations he's been in.
"He's really progressed from where he was a year ago. Where he's at today, it looks like he has made a big jump."
Here are the lines from Wednesday's practice, keeping in mind Marian Hossa wasn't out there. Hossa is expected on the ice Thursday.
Bryan Bickell was at left wing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane; Michal Handzus was between Patrick Sharp and Jimmy Hayes; the third line featured Andrew Shaw in the middle of Brandon Saad and Ben Smith; the fourth line was Brandon Bollig, Kruger and Nordstrom.
Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin were the extras.
The Hawks were on the cover of Sports Illustrated three times last season and ended up winning the Stanley Cup.
They're on it again as Patrick Kane graces the cover of the magazine's preview issue in which the Hawks are predicted to repeat as league champions.
"It's pretty exciting," Kane said. "Not only for yourself personally, but for where this team is at. It seems like we've been on it quite a bit lately, four times in the past year. It's a good thing for hockey."
Marian Hossa, who has missed all of the preseason with an upper-body injury believed to be his back, is expected to be back on the ice Thursday.
But Joel Quenneville didn't say if that meant Hossa would be practicing.
"He's likely to get on the ice (Thursday)," Quenneville said. "He's feeling better every day, so there been some progress. He's excited about being back on skates."
Joel Quenneville said the likely plan at this time was to keep eight defensemen, which is good news for either Mike Kostka or Ryan Stanton. … There are nine defensemen left in camp. … Defenseman Theo Peckham and winger Brad Winchester cleared waivers and were assigned to Rockford.