Brandon Mashinter was stocking up on groceries when he got the call from Rockford general manager Mark Bernard.
“He said, ‘Can you take them back?’ [I said,] ‘No, why?’ And he ended up telling me I was coming up,” said Mashinter, who the Blackhawks recalled from the IceHogs on Wednesday morning. “A little bit of a surprise with the forwards and nobody injured, but it’s definitely nice.”
And it looks like Mashinter will be part of the team’s fourth line — with Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger — when the Blackhawks host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Mashinter has four goals and three assists in 12 games with the IceHogs, so he’s the latest to get his opportunity.
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“You get some size, some physicality. He skated well in camp, played well in the games he played and was playing well down there [in Rockford],” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You want to get some consistency in our game and hopefully he can give us that.”
That’s part of it, for sure. Another possibility may be the Blackhawks still have a few days, at least, of wiggle room with their salary cap — defensemen Michal Rozsival and Duncan Keith are still on long-term injured reserve, and the Blackhawks can utilize their salaries while they remain on that list. So why not give another player who’s done well in his time in Rockford a chance?
“Time’s running out if that’s the case; it’s an opportunity to do things,” Quenneville said of the cap. “At the same time he’s earned the opportunity, too, by how he’s playing and what we’re looking for.”
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Things have gone well thus far for Mashinter, who is the IceHogs’ captain this season.
“Bounces have been going my way early this year, especially for our team in Rockford. We had a little bit of a rough start the first four games but the last eight have been going really well,” Mashinter said. “I just always try to play my own game and not think too much about anything really except playing my game.”
- Ryan Garbutt (illness) practiced with the Blackhawks on Wednesday. He was not on the top four lines — he, Viktor Tikhonov and David Rundblad wore white jerseys as “fifth liners” — but Quenneville said it was more because Garbutt is still coming off that illness. “Yeah, let’s see how he handles that. He hasn’t been on the ice for four or five days.”
- Teuvo Teravainen did not finish practice, but Quenneville said the forward, “seemed all right. We’re still expecting him to play tomorrow.”
- Corey Crawford will start against the Devils.