The revolving door that is Chicago’s No. 2 center spot has opened for Brandon Pirri.
Pirri, one of the club’s brightest offensive prospects, will get a chance to play in a top-six role as the club announced the incumbent No. 2, Michal Handzus, would miss at least the next two games with an upper-body injury.
“We’re still looking for who’s going to be that [second-line center],” head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s an opportunity for Brandon to hopefully grab that. We certainly feel he can play there. We’re comfortable giving him that chance here and I think he’ll do fine.”
Pirri, 22, led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has appeared in six games for the ‘Hawks this year, scoring two goals and three points in a largely bottom-six role.
He was also playing on the wing, which could make for an interesting adjustment to the middle. Thankfully for Pirri, he’ll be playing on a line with Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, which should make the switch plenty easier.
“Those guys have a lot of skill,” Pirri said. “I think I can bring a little skill and energy.”
Chicago plays tonight in Minnesota before hopping a plane for tomorrow night’s contest in Ottawa. The ‘Hawks are off ’til Saturday after that, so it’s possible Handzus could return for this weekend’s games (Saturday in Winnipeg, Sunday at home vs. Calgary).
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: