Vinnie Hinostroza enjoys mini-reunion in Rockford with Blackhawks on bye

Vinnie Hinostroza enjoys mini-reunion in Rockford with Blackhawks on bye

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.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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."

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.