NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 16: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks plays against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on November 16, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks made a bit of a splash on Wednesday morning when they called up Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom, but the news that the team had finally called up an extra forward was quickly swallowed up by bigger news.
That's because the team will be without forwards Andrew Shaw and Michal Handzus when they travel to the Twin Cities on Thursday to take on the Minnesota Wild. Handzus missed Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars with an illness, and while Shaw was one of the Hawks' most prominent players in that game, he did get into a fight in the game with Antoine Roussel, so it's possible that he picked up some type of an injury in that scrap.
The news is particularly unwelcome for the Hawks because it means that they will be forced to use Sheldon Brookbank as a forward once again. The reason it's so unwelcome is because Brookbank isn't trusted by head coach Joel Quenneville to play consistent minutes, and therefore players like Patrick Kane have to pick up the slack for him in that area.
With the Hawks playing five games in seven days beginning tomorrow, that is especially worrisome, and the depth that has set the team apart from so many others in the NHL is being seriously tested right now. Losing Shaw for any length of time means that the Hawks also have a big gaping hole in their center position, which already isn't exactly an area of strength for the team.
Yes, players like Nordstrom and Ben Smith are capable of filling in, but they are better suited playing on the wing for the Hawks, so Quenneville and company have got to hope that both Shaw and Handzus are able to come back sooner rather than later.