Jeremy Morin has been through this drill a few times.
The Chicago Blackhawks forward was recalled from Rockford three previous times this season. Morin played in some games here and there, but the stints never lasted too long before he was back with the IceHogs.
This time around, however, Morin’s stay has drawn different results. He’s been physical, he’s been scoring and he’s been part of a trio that’s providing the Blackhawks a solid third line again.
Morin is currently on a three-game point streak, which includes a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over St. Louis on Sunday. In the wake of injuries to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks have needed a little more from everyone in the lineup. Morin, in his fourth trip up to Chicago this season, has provided that.
“Obviously I was excited about it,” Morin said of his latest recall. “It was time to prove I could play at this level. I was excited and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Obviously, it was tough when Morin got sent to Rockford in mid-December; every hockey player dreams of getting to and staying in the NHL. Back with the IceHogs, Morin could have done one of two things: he could have sulked, wallowed in the reassignment or he could play his tail off and prove he deserved another chance. Looks like he chose the latter; in 47 games with Rockford, Morin tallied 24 goals and 23 assists.
Coach Joel Quenneville sees what the minor-league work has done for Morin’s game.
“He has more confidence with the puck,” Quenneville said. “He’s one of those guys up the wing who has a big shot. He’s simple, direct, (goes) straight ahead. You get a little more comfortable with the puck and the way we have to play, and I think it’s starting to show; he has more purpose behind his play.”
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Teammates are noticing Morin’s latest work, and his improvement since his last time here.
“He’s always had a good, hard shot. But he seems to be skating a little quicker out there, in my opinion,” Duncan Keith said. “He’s always had that skill and tenacity that, as a teammate, you like to see. It seems like he’s moving a little quicker out there. It just adds to his game.”
Morin has stuck up for teammates, he’s produced and he’s helped the Blackhawks get back to their solid four-line rotation. He got another opportunity, and he’s capitalizing on it.
“I felt comfortable with my game coming up; I was playing some of my best hockey in the AHL and I wanted to bring it up here,” Morin said. “You only get so many shots to make your mark, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”