When Blackhawks training camp ended in early October, Tomas Jurco took the disappointing news that he was being assigned to Rockford in stride and vowed to become a better hockey player.
"I needed some playing time," Jurco told the Daily Herald six weeks ago. "I'd been up there (in the NHL) either in Detroit or in Chicago and I haven't been playing a lot. So this helps me a lot to get my confidence back."
Jurco will finally have the chance to show the Hawks how his game has grown -- possibly as soon as Tuesday when they play at Ottawa -- thanks to the 6-foot-1, 200-pound winger earning a call-up on Monday. John Hayden, who was scratched for just the second time all season Sunday against Edmonton, was assigned to Rockford.
Jurco (13G, 12A), acquired in a trade with the Red Wings last February, played just 13 games with the Hawks last season, scoring 1 goal and averaging almost 11 ½ minutes of ice time. He scored three times and had 16 shots on goal in Rockford's past four games.
Hayden has been a staple on the fourth line. It has been perhaps the most consistent Hawks line, but coach Joel Quenneville said he has seen some slippage of late.
"That line with Hayds has to be better," Quenneville said after practice Saturday.
Hayden had 3 goals and 8 assists in 39 games, but he didn't have a point for 10 straight games.
Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Vinnie Hinostroza extended their point streaks to four games Sunday with a gorgeous play that gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead late in the second period against Edmonton.
After Hinostroza won a battle in the defensive zone, he crossed over the offensive blue line and dumped the puck to a trailing Toews. With 12 ticks on the clock, Toews stormed to the middle, fended off a backchecking Ryan Strome and dished to Saad while sprawling face first to the ice.
Saad, who positioned himself perfectly and used his body to keep Kris Russell at bay, tapped in his 13th goal of the season through Cam Talbot's legs with just 9.2 seconds left.
Toews has 3 goals and 4 assists in the past four games after not recording a point in the previous six.
"That's him protecting the puck, getting to the net and finding me just with a great pass," Saad said. "That's what we need to do with (our) big bodies -- protect the puck. When we get away from that, we don't have success. We did a good job of that tonight."
Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta were paired Sunday for the first time in almost a month and the young defensemen played well against the Oilers.
Rutta had sat the previous four games.
"They were real good," coach Joel Quenneville said. "That pair, with quickness and with the puck offensively, they really make a nice team."
Rutta registered the secondary assist on Nick Schmaltz's first-period goal. He also broke up a prime scoring chance with seven minutes left in the second period by diving and poking the puck away from a charging Milan Lucic.
Franson on waivers:
The Blackhawks placed veteran defenseman Cody Franson on waivers Monday. Scott Powers of The Athletic reports the Hawks are expected to call up Erik Gustafsson once Franson is claimed or clears waivers. Teams have 24 hours to make a claim on Franson.