Vinnie Hinostroza sprinted down the ice, breaking away from several Columbus Blue Jackets in pursuit. But Andrew Shaw's pass was just out of his reach.
Hinostroza was still thinking about the opportunity a few minutes after Saturday’s game.
“Yeah, I saw that coming. I’ve been dreaming about that for forever so I think I got too excited. I just have to take a deep breath and catch that,” Hinostroza said. “It was a great pass by Shaw but I think I was too excited, looking too forward instead of just catching a pass.”
Well, things like that happen, even to those who have played plenty of games. For Hinostroza, who made his NHL debut on Saturday, the night was an overall success. The Bartlett native, who was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs on Friday, centered the Blackhawks’ third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt. Coach Joel Quenneville was happy with Hinostroza’s debut.
“I liked him,” Quenneville said. “He has speed, he was dangerous and he was a threat. I thought that line was much improved from that last game; it looked quick. I thought we had better rotation and sustained four lines, contributing on both sides of the puck. I thought Vinnie had a good start."
Hinostroza was one of several Blackhawks prospects still in Chicago in the waning days of training camp. He had his impressive outings; Quenneville pointed to a preseason game against Detroit as a strong one for Hinostroza. Still, he didn’t make the cut out of camp; fellow forward Kyle Baun did. But Baun didn’t make the impact at regular season’s start as he had in camp. So on Friday, Baun went to Rockford and Hinostroza came here.
The 21-year-old thought he had a solid first night.
“It was good, I think,” he said. “I didn’t expect much. I didn’t want to come in and make a huge impact. I just wanted to come in, make some energy with these guys and do well on my shifts. And I feel like I just need to keep building every shift, every game.”
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Will Hinostroza be in the lineup again on Thursday, when the Blackhawks host the Florida Panthers? It seems likely at the moment. Quenneville got closer to having four lines rolling on Saturday, and he doesn’t like to change lineups when that happens. He also rarely changes when the Blackhawks are coming off a victory.
Saturday was just the start for what Hinstroza hopes is a long stay with the Blackhawks. He said on Saturday morning he didn’t want to be here for just a game or two. He’s played just one game but he’s feeling good about that debut and hopes it leads to more opportunity.
“Yeah, it does build confidence because you get to this level and you see, ‘Hey look, I can play here, I can make plays, I can play with these players.’ Just a few adjustments and I feel it’ll be good,” Hinostroza said. “It was a great experience.”