Blackhawks News

Will Saturday be Joakim Nordstrom’s last game?

By Sean Fitzgerald

Sep 23, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing

Brad Winchester

(left) and center

Joakim Nordstrom

(middle) congratulate left wing

Bryan Bickell

(29) after Bickel scored a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks opened their season Tuesday with a memorable banner raising ceremony.

After raising the banner, the Blackhawks took on the Washington Capitals. Three out of the last 6 champions from the following year lost their season opener. The Los Angeles Kings lost to the Blackhawks last season. The Blackhawks would buck the trend and win the high scoring affair 6 to 4.

The top story coming out of the game was the effectiveness of the Capitals power-play. The Capitals scored three goals off the power-play before the Blackhawks held strong on 5-3 for almost 2 minutes. With Capitals power play being effective, that meant the Blackhawks penalty kill was ineffective.

Joakim Nordstrom is the newest  member of the Blackhawks and newest member on the penalty kill. Nordstrom was not particularly effective in Tuesdays game.

Nordstrom played for 12:23, with 2 shots and 2 penalty minutes. Nordstrom had a good chemistry with Marcus Kruger during training camp and the preseason. Nordstrom was on the ice for one of the power play goals, but he was not very useful much of the time he was on the ice. Nordstrom didn’t win a faceoff, and had a potentially terrible delay of penalty while on the penalty kill in the last minutes of the game creating a 5 on 3.

Nordstrom is trying to replace Michael Frolik on the penalty kill. Frolik and Kruger were the penalty kill dynamic duo last season. The Blackhawks penalty kill last season killed off 85.71% of penalties last season. The Blackhawks were higher than the league average of 81.72% .

To Nordstrom’s credit, he was a long shot to make the team. He only played in 11 games in Rockford last season after finishing a season in Sweden. He was on the ice when Brandon Bollig scored his first regular season goal. Coach Quenneville was confident enough in the 4th line to play them against the Alexander Ovechkin line on Tuesday.

With Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin down at Rockford, Nordstrom must play at high level for his role. Nordstrom needs to step up his overall game especially on the penalty kill otherwise, he will be on a bus back to Rockford. Quenneville still speaks highly of Nordstrom, but if he doesn’t show his training camp spark he should be improving his craft on the AHL stage. Saturday night could be a huge night for Nordstrom’s season plans.

What do you think? Is Saturday a Sink or Swim day for Nordstrom?

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