It wasn't even an hour after the Blackhawks defeated Washington in their final preseason game Saturday night that winger Jeremy Morin was seen leaving the United Center with his equipment bag and new shipment of sticks, headed to Rockford.
The Hawks reduced their roster to 24 late Saturday by sending Morin and center Brandon Pirri to Rockford. Also returned to the American Hockey League team was rookie goalie Antti Raanta, who had been recalled to fill in on an emergency basis for Corey Crawford.
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That leaves one spot still available, likely on defense, where there are nine blue liners still left in camp. Ryan Stanton didn't dress Saturday against the Capitals, making it seem as if he had fallen behind Mike Kostka in the battle for that 23rd spot.
"You look at the six guys that were after the four spots, I don't think anyone hurt themselves in the camp the way they played," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought it was very competitive as far as how close the evaluations are.
"Whether they're going to he here or there (at Rockford), we envision them playing hockey here at some point this year. It will definitely be challenging for the guys who go down, but at the same time work your tail off to get back here and I'm sure you'll see the Blackhawk uniform here."
Pirri never got untracked after suffering a lower-body injury in the scrimmages at Notre Dame. He appeared in the last two preseason games but did little to make an impression with the coaches.
Pirri played less than 12 minutes Saturday against the Capitals with 1 shot on goal. He also was 4-8 on faceoffs.
It appears Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes and Joakim Nordstrom have won jobs at forward.
Nick Leddy might have learned a lesson the fun way Saturday when he scored 2 goals in the 4-3 victory over Washington in overtime.
Leddy scored 2 goals on two wicked shots.
"He's got a good shot," Joel Quenneville said. "Especially when you're in the middle of the ice, the best play is to just fire it and get action off it. Sometimes they go in, but both were nice shots."
Quenneville has been reminding all his defensemen to shoot the puck more.
"You get a night like tonight when they start going in and it makes you start thinking shot, shot, shot," Quenneville said.
"Like I said a couple of weeks ago, just shooting the puck always creates offense, whether it goes in or it creates a chance for someone else," Leddy said. "It gives our team a lot of confidence."
Beach to Sweden:
Left wing Kyle Beach, the 11th pick in the 2008 draft, apparently saw the writing on the wall as far as his future with the Hawks was concerned and accepted an assignment to HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League on Sunday.
Beach appeared in one preseason game with the Hawks, getting 12:58 of ice time in a 5-4 shootout win Sept. 20 at Washington.
The Hawks took Beach ahead of former Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of Ottawa and Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers.
Once again the Hawks kick off their season Tuesday with a special red carpet event on Madison Street in front of the United Center starting at 4:30 p.m.
The team will arrive via limousine on Madison Street in front of Gate 3.
Madison Street between Damen and Wood will be closed from 3-5:30 p.m. Parking lots around the UC will open at 3:30 p.m., while gates will open immediately following the player arrival.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:30 p.m. for the banner-raising ceremony.
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