SAN JOSE, Calif. – Gustav Forsling was set to return to Chicago for the weekend, make a quick stop back at his apartment during his stay with the Rockford IceHogs. Instead, he ended up on a West Coast flight to join the Blackhawks.
"This was a great surprise," Forsling said.
Forsling was recalled on Sunday and is likely to play when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks needed to bolster their defense as they hit the road for the next six games. Michal Rozsival, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday, will likely be out 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury according to coach Joel Quenneville. Rozsival was likely hurt blocking a shot at Thursday’s practice at Johnny's Ice House West. Forsling had a goal and four assists in 11 games with the IceHogs.
Rockford coach Ted Dent, asked about Forsling not long after the young defenseman joined the IceHogs, like what Forsling was bringing.
"Just a presence of poise for us back there as far as with the puck, being able to make plays under pressure, not panic and really generate offense and join the rush off the back end," Dent said. "He's smart enough and sees the ice well where he can make plays quick, which you have to at this and the NHL level. He also realizes the AHL isn't that big of a step down. The higher end players at this level can compete in the NHL for the most part; they're just looking for the opportunity. He said it's a fast league down here, and that's good. Because we want him to play at a fast pace so when he goes back up, he’s at a high level."
Coach Joel Quenneville is looking to see if the stint in Rockford has the desired effect on Forsling's game.
"Certainly [he was] playing in all situations. The more ice time you get the better you feel. The more situations you see your instincts get a little bit quicker. But that's what our intensions were, to get him playing and feeling all situations, and we trust he can do the same up here as well," Quenneville said. "He has a lot of upside to his game that we want to see and hopefully we get to see it quickly here."
- The Blackhawks' all-stars (Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane) did not practice on Monday but all are expected to play Tuesday against the Sharks.
- Marcus Kruger and Artem Anisimov missed Monday's practice due to illness. Quenneville said he's not sure on the forwards' status for Tuesday's game.