Blackhawks' defenseman Beaudin in Rockford so he can keep playing

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Chicago Blackhawks sent defenseman Nicolas Beaudin to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

    The Chicago Blackhawks sent defenseman Nicolas Beaudin to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/27/2021 5:22 PM

With Connor Murphy's return, somebody had to be the odd man out among the Blackhawks' defensemen.

It turned out to be Nicolas Beaudin, who has more than impressed in 11 appearances this season.

 

But the rookie is far from the finished product, and coach Jeremy Colliton felt this was the right decision for everybody.

"Pretty pleased that we've been able to get him in as much as we have and a lot of that's due to his performance," Colliton said Saturday. "We've gone seven 'D' a few times. That was the right thing for the team, but the right thing for the team now is to go 12 and six. And the right thing for him is to keep playing.

"We're happy with him, we delivered that message to him when we told him he was gonna go play in Rockford."

Beaudin has 2 goals, 3 assists and 11 blocked shots in 11 games. After playing 19 minutes against Detroit on February 15, Beaudin's ice time slipped to 12:07 and 9:14 the next two games. He then sat out both wins at Columbus.

"We're excited about the progression he's made already," Colliton said. "These games in Rockford -- however many they end up being -- he has to treat it as an opportunity. And I think he is going to do that so that we can continue that improvement we've been seeing."

Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk and goalie Collin Delia were also assigned to the IceHogs, who play five times between February 27 and March 7. Delia is on a conditioning stint.

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Don't spoil home cookin':

After a road trip that lasted nearly two weeks, the Hawks began a five-game homestand by hosting Detroit on Saturday. They'll face the Red Wings again Sunday then play the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, March 7.

It's a critical stretch for coach Jeremy Colliton's squad, which continues to defy the experts and is becoming a viable threat to qualify for the playoffs.

"It's important not to fall into the trap where, 'Oh, this is nice and things are going to take care of (themselves) because we're home and we've been playing well,' " Colliton said. "It's the opposite of that. We've got to really buckle down and make sure we find a way to get ourselves going, be prepared for puck drop."

Slap shots:

Calvin de Haan entered Saturday's action ranked third in blocked shots with 48. ... Detroit ranked last on the power play (6.1%), 30th in goals (2.0) and 28th on the penalty kill (70.3%). ... Red Wings goalie Thomas Greiss was 1-10-1 with a 3.16 goals-against average coming into Saturday.

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