Rookie Reflections


Oct 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Brandon Pirri (right) celebrates scoring a goal with defenseman Brent Seabrook (left) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Blackhawks Nation! I figured it would be the perfect time for me to make my debut as Blackhawks Up’s newest addition to the writing staff in the recent wake of all the Hawks newcomers notching goals

            As a Chicagoland native from the north suburbs, and fortunate enough to have played the great sport of hockey until the wise old age of 18, I would just like to say that it’s truly amazing for Hawks fans like myself, who were listening to the radio when the Hawks were on home ice and sat through games at the United Center when there weren’t good seats available but good sections, that now, we have home game network TV broadcasts, a bunch of new banners hanging from the UC rafters, and Blackhawk Up: a forum created by Hawks fans for Hawks fans to talk Blackhawks. My how the times have changed!

            But enough about me, and more on a rookie you’d rather hear about: Brandon Pirri. As you may already know, Pirri’s been a name mentioned in some circles as the Hawks next potential break-out star for the past couple years now, but this season I feel, is his year. And it’s not because he got his first couple NHL goals in the past few games the Hawks played and his overall solid play thus far, but because the conditions this season on the Blackhawks are more favorable than ever for Pirri, not to mention other Blackhawk neophytes, to thrive.

            First, winning the Cup in 2013 proved the 2010 Stanley Cup victory wasn’t a fluke. These accomplishments have made the Blackhawks an institution of hockey as of late, and first and foremost, confident in their organization’s modus operandi. The formulas on their chalkboards have gotten results, not once, but twice, so now, as with all set formulas, all you need is input to plug in, i.e. players.

            Second, this time around, the Hawks roster only has a few select slots that need to be filled in the season following their Cup victory, and not gaping holes like it did in the 2010-2011 season. This benefits novice Hawks players in two ways: 1.) Hawks newbies don’t have their confidence and development stymied when they crash and burn from being forced into roles they aren’t quite ready for, and 2.) Competition for sparse roster real estate forces new players to stay on their toes, play smart, and continually prove they deserve their spot on the team (case in point, Joakim Nordstrom being recently sent back to AHL not long after a sloppy clear that resulted in a goal against).

            Of course, a player’s success in the NHL is determined by a lot more factors, but I refuse to believe that in roughly the first month of the 2013-14 season not only Pirri, but other Blackhawk (and relatively speaking, NHL) newcomers Ben Smith, Michael Kostka, and Joakim Nordstrom tallying goals is purely dumb luck or coincidence. Pirri and company have a multi championship-seasoned team and supporting cast around them, so now it’s only a question of whom among the Hawks fledglings are going to recognize and take advantage of this opportunity and earn a permanent spot on the roster and in Hawks fans’ hearts.

            Let’s see if Pirri, Smith, and Kostka can continue inking up the stat sheet tonight when they play Blackhawks South aka the Florida Panthers.


For the Dagger!