Forward Joakim Nordstrom and defenseman Mike Kostka could exhale a little on Monday.
The two, who were hoping to be part of the Chicago Blackhawks’ opening-night roster, were sitting in their respective stalls on Monday afternoon, assured of just that. While it’s unknown if Kostka is in, Nordstrom will start on the fourth line when the Blackhawks open against the Washington Capitals tomorrow night.
As far as the starters with recent injuries, Corey Crawford, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus are all expected to play tomorrow night.
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Nordstrom has been playing with fellow Swede Marcus Kruger, and he’s going to be getting some penalty killing work as the Blackhawks look to find Michael Frolik’s replacement there. Nordstrom said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I tried to watch as often as I could; of course I noticed how he was playing on the ice,” Nordstrom said of Frolik. “I knew the role Marcus has had. He’s helped me a lot and explained how I could play to make it easier for me.”
Kruger said they’ll see how the PK works out, but that Nordstrom is already a heady player.
“To be young and coming over here and to play that good, give him a few games and he’ll be a really good player for us,” he said. “We’ll play (some PK) here in the beginning. He’s a smart player. He can play it all and maybe we can find some chemistry there. It’s going to be exciting for him.”
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Kostka, meanwhile, got that eighth and final defenseman spot. Now he’ll see when he gets in for the Blackhawks, who Kostka said are a “breath of fresh air” with their playing style.
“This is a puck-moving team awesome forwards: just get them the puck and get into the play. And that’s the style I like to play,” said Kostka, who spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. “It’s a bit of an adjustment from how things were in Toronto, which is a more defensive-minded team. I gel a little more with this style of play than with the shutdown role I had in Toronto.”
Defenseman Ryan Stanton, who was placed on waivers on Sunday, was picked up by the Vancouver Canucks on Monday morning. Stanton had vied for a spot on the Blackhawks’ roster during training camp. But be it him not being what the Blackhawks were looking for or Kostka playing better, Stanton will get a fresh start with the Canucks.
“We were concerned he could get picked up,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Stanton. “We liked the depth he gave us; it was a chance for him (during camp). But good for him that he’s going to play right off the bat. You wish him well.”
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Stanton had three goals and 22 assists in 73 games with the Rockford IceHogs last season.
He said it
“The ring is over the top. Very nice job.” Coach Joel Quenneville, on the championship rings the Blackhawks received in a private ceremony on Sunday night.