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Chicago Blackhawks: Andrew Desjardins Draws Back Into The Lineup

By Gail Kauchak
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Nov 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Desjardins (11) is checked by St. Louis Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson (6) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

They say that when a player goes down, it’s always an opportunity for someone else to step up.  It appears this is exactly what is happening this weekend with the Chicago Blackhawks.  Teuvo Teravainen left Thursday night’s game with an upper body injury, and it was announced today that he will be out of the lineup for a short time.  Since the Hawks have back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday night, it is assumed that Teravainen will be out for at least that long.  Coach Quenneville announced today that Andrew Desjardins will draw into the lineup in his stead.

My initial reaction to this news remains the same.  Why was Desjardins out of the lineup in the first place?

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The Chicago Blackhawks have won three games in a row, and usually following wins Coach Q doesn’t tinker with the lines.  On Wednesday night, the Hawks started their Circus Trip against the Edmonton Oilers.  This was the third game in a row the Coach rolled a fourth line of Brandon Mashinter, Tanner Kero, and Ryan Garbutt.

Now all three of these names are relatively new to Hawks fans, especially that of Mashinter.  That is because this was only his fourth game with the Hawks.  He was called up from the Rockford IceHogs, and played his first game with the team against the New Jersey Devils last Thursday.

In the meantime, Andrew Desjardins has been a healthy scratch since the team played St. Louis this past Saturday.  One must wonder, why Mashinter over Desjardins?  Let’s take a look at their numbers.

So far this season, Desjardins has played in 16 games.  He has 0 goals, 0 assists, and a minus-8 rating.  As an IceHog, Mashinter has 4 goals and 3 assists with an even 0 rating through 12 games.

Well, I can see where these numbers could warrant Mashinter getting a shot.  After all, there have been many players that Coach Q and company have been trying out from Rockford.  Usually those try outs last two to four games.  So is Mashinter’s time almost up?  He seems to be the beneficiary of the winning the Hawks have been doing.

But Mashinter has 0 goals and 0 assists and a minus-1 rating in his four games with the Hawks.  He’s averaged about 7 minutes per game, and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.   Desjardins has averaged about 12 minutes of ice time through his 16 games; but his time on the ice has slowly declined over his last four games played.  Even so, it is obvious that the coaching staff trusts Desjardins with more playing time.

He hasn’t been playing well lately, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when he allowed a turnover that led directly to a goal last Thursday against the Devils.  He’s been benched ever since.

Both players have a very similar gritty style of play.  Mashinter describes himself as an “up and down winger with a big body who can throw his weight around and make room for his teammates.”  Desjardins showed he could be that kind of a player during last year’s playoffs.  He was part of the same shutdown fourth line that Mashinter is currently playing on.  Desi further added a goal and 3 assists, which was an bonus considering scoring wasn’t exactly his role.

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Getting back to this season, Desjardins has had some increased ice time because he has been utilized on the penalty kill.  This is something Mashinter can’t offer.  In Desjardin’s absence, Tanner Kero has been taking on that role.

So Teravainen is out and Desjardins has a chance to step back in.  Where he will slot into the lineup remains to be seen at the time of this post.  But I personally think it is past time for Desjardins to be back. He could be the spark the bottom six needs to get things rolling.  Hopefully when Teuvo returns, Desi will remain as well.  He simply has more to offer than Mashinter.

What do you think Blackhawks fans?  Should Desjardins have a permanent spot in the lineup?  Feel free to leave your comments in the section below.

For more Chicago Blackhawks news and updates, follow us on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up.

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