ROCKFORD – For Vinnie Hinostroza, this is going to be a fun week.
Oh, his time with the Blackhawks is going well. He got back into the lineup a few games ago and was part of the team closing out their road trip with a five-game winning streak. But Hinostroza had some good times while with the IceHogs. So for this week, at least, he'll enjoy his time catching up, practicing – and perhaps playing – with some friends.
Hinostroza, Tanner Kero, Nick Schmaltz and Gustav Forsling were sent to Rockford on Sunday, when the Blackhawks entered their bye week. The four were sent there, in part for cap-space reasons. According to CapFriendly, the Blackhawks saved $17,680 per day – an additional $477,360 in deadline cap space if those players stay in Rockford for the week.
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The four were part of the IceHogs' practice on Tuesday. Whether they play against Cleveland on Wednesday morning, was unknown as of that afternoon.
"Not sure yet. I've got to get some direction from Stan [Bowman] in Chicago," Rockford coach Ted Dent said of the Blackhawks' general manager. "Obviously we have a lot of bodies now, so we just have to figure it out [Tuesday night] before the morning."
Hinostroza believed he could be playing in Wednesday's game, which has a 10:30 a.m. start. "I don't think I've done that since Pee Wees," he said. Whether or not he plays, however, Hinostroza will enjoy the time with his former IceHogs teammates.
"Getting back here, I'm happy," Hinostroza said. "It was so much fun last year with these guys. Everyone's smiling and having a good time. Come down here, practice, grab some dinner, see a movie. It's just great to be able to catch up with these guys."