Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on what needs to change for the Hawks after their 6-2 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Chris Hine/Chicago Tribune)
Through 28 games, the Blackhawks have called up only one player from Rockford — goaltender Jean-Francois Berube, who came up last week when they placed Corey Crawford on injured reserve.
Coach Joel Quenneville has gone 10 games without altering the 18 skaters who have dressed.
But after the Hawks dropped their fifth consecutive game Wednesday, a 6-2 loss to the Capitals, it appears change is on the way.
“We’ll talk about it,” Quenneville said after the game. “We mix it up to change it up a little bit. I think we had a decent stretch there and (Wednesday) didn’t get what we’re looking for. ...
“We’ll try something, do whatever we can to get it going in the right direction.”
The Hawks made a move toward shaking things up Thursday by placing center Tanner Kero on waivers. Kero, who is on a one-way contract, will likely head to Rockford should he clear waivers Friday morning. The Hawks are likely to recall forward Vinnie Hinostroza.
Kero is one of the three Hawks — defensemen Michal Kempny and Jordan Oesterle are the others — who have been watching from the press box over the last 10 games as Quenneville has stuck with the same lineup, though he has switched his line combinations and defensive pairings.
“It's a tough situation, but it's a situation where we didn't want to change the lineup for a stretch there.” Quenneville said. “Those guys have handled it as well as possible, keep themselves ready to play and come in at a moment's notice and hopefully stay in the lineup. ... It's not easy for them, but I’ve got to commend them on how they've handled it.”
After training camp, Quenneville said Hinostroza was close to making the NHL roster and likley would be the first skater to rejoin the Hawks.
Hinostroza has played well in Rockford to keep his name at the top of the list of potential call-ups, scoring nine goals with 13 assists in 23 games. He has six goals and eight assists in 56 career NHL games.
The Hawks have been fortunate on the injury front through two months of the season, needing only to recall Berube to plug in at backup goalie.
Another player in the mix for a promotion is winger Tomas Jurco, who has seven goals and eight assists for Rockford.