The Chicago Blackhawks are dipping into recent drafts to help fill out their depth in the AHL and throughout their system as they’ve signed 2009 second round pick Brandon Pirri to a three-year entry-level contract. Pirri played last year in the NCAA at RPI where he was a teammate of newly-signed Maple Leafs prospect and Team USA World Junior superstar Jerry D’Amigo. Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY gets the scoop from Pirri.
“It’s a dream come true, ever since I was a little kid,” Pirri said. “I get to do something I would do for free, but I get paid to do it now.”
If Pirri doesn’t make the Blackhawks, there will be only one place he will play.
“He will either be playing in the NHL, or the American Hockey League next year,” [agent Anton] Thun said. “He will not be playing in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Rockford is the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. Saginaw holds Pirri’s OHL rights.
For the Blackhawks, their secret stockpile of young talent now officially adds another guy capable of putting up big offensive numbers. Last year for RPI, Pirri was second on the team in points with 43, first with assists with 32 and first on the team in penalty minutes with 67 all over the course of 39 games. If it wasn’t for his teammate D’Amigo it’s possible that Pirri would’ve gotten all the attention to be ECAC rookie of the year but Pirri’s contributions were a necessary part to their success.
If you’re wondering if the penalty minutes indicate that Pirri is a bit of a goon-type player, he’s not. What he did do was spend a lot of time after whistles jawing with opposing players as well as linesmen who were more than happy to toss him from the face-off circle. While his offensive skill set is fantastic, his dedication to defense and wont to work in the corners to fight for pucks will need drastic improvement if he wants to make a push for the NHL.
(Photo: Richard Wolowicz – Getty Images)
Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the Wild, they hit a new low.
Minnesota dropped an eighth straight decision in Saturday’s matinee against the Boston Bruins.
The Wild got behind the eight ball early.
Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at the 6:18 mark of the first period.
Thomas Vanek ended a 10-game goal drought to tie the game at two in the second period.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the Bruins answered with goals by David Krejci, Loui Eriksson and Zdeno Chara.
Minnesota drops to 0-4 since GM Cliff Fletcher announced that coach Mike Yeo and his staff were safe.
Even the captain acknowledged that today’s effort wasn’t good enough:
The numbers aren’t pretty:
If they were to lose next Sunday’s Stadium Series game against Chicago, they would establish a new franchise record with their ninth straight loss on ice.
As bad as the Wild have been, they’re still in the thick of the playoff race.
Minnesota is three points behind Nashville for the final Wild Card spot in the West.
Laurent Brossoit will make his second career start in Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Brossoit will be between the pipes because starter Cam Talbot is ill and missed the morning skate.
The Oilers are hoping Brossoit isn’t as busy this time as he was in his first career start last year when he turned aside 49 shots in a 3-1 loss to San Jose.
“I’m a big believer in Brossoit,” said teammate Brandon Davidson, per the team’s website. “He’s done a great job. I played with him in the minors and he competes like no other. He’s tremendously athletic and he did a great job last year when he got the game too. He’s ready and I think he’ll show that tonight.”
The Jets will go with Ondrej Pavelec, who hasn’t played since Nov. 21 because of a knee injury.
–The Leafs have yet to announce their start. The Canucks haven’t named one either, but expect them to go with Ryan Miller.
—Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets will counter with Joonas Korpisalo.
–Like the Leafs and Canucks, the Islanders and Hurricanes have yet to announce their starting goaltenders. It could be Jaroslav Halak against Eddie Lack.
–Expect Pekka Rinne to get the start against the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who was pulled on Friday, will be between the pipes for Florida.
—Braden Holtby will put his five-game winning streak on the line when Washington takes on Dallas. Kari Lehtonen will look to extend his winning streak to three games.
–The Ducks have yet to announce their start. The ‘Hawks will turn to Vezina Trophy candidate Corey Crawford.
—Louis Domingue will look to win his second straight game. Martin Jones will get the start for San Jose.
Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.
With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.
Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:
Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.
To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.
Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:
CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.
Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.
The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.