Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom were called up to Chicago to fill voids.
They’re here to rebuild depth in the Blackhawks’ roster, depleted by injuries to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. They’re here to help balance lines, as Morin has done with the third and Nordstrom has done with the fourth. They’re here to contribute in any way they can, be it with defense and/or offense.
But besides fulfilling those duties, guys like Morin and Nordstrom have done something else. They’ve brought a much-needed energy boost to a Blackhawks lineup that’s grinding to the regular-season finish line. They bring youthful exuberance, that basic excitement of being with the big club and contributing to it. And the Blackhawks need that as much as anything else the two have brought.
Morin and Nordstrom are thrilled to be here, and that feeling is rubbing off on the Blackhawks locker room. The two bring the same qualities: everyday joy at getting to this level and a drive to stay at this level. For a Blackhawks squad filled with a lot of players who have played a lot of hockey, that excitement can be infectious.
“You see it in those guys; they’re hungry to be here and they know it’s a privilege to be here,” Duncan Keith said of the duo after Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. “Those two guys are in the lineup and played hard. You have to this time of year; it’s not a time to be waiting for the playoffs.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said Blackhawks have been searching for that energy injection for a bit now.
“We were looking for that coming out of the Olympic break — we didn’t get it. Young guys coming into our lineup, they’re giving us a boost and that pace and enthusiasm,” he said. “With Mo and Nordy, we’re at that time of year it’s important to get it.”
The regular season is a grind. It can be arduous, even when you’re fighting for home ice and seeding in the Western Conference. Morin and Nordstrom have brought plenty to the team in their current stints. Their new-to-the-party excitement was an appreciated addition, too.