Originally written on NBC Chicago  |  Last updated 12/29/11
The Rockford Express is rocking and rolling again. News out of practice Thursday was that Brandon Pirri was sent down and Jimmy Hayes has earned his first call up with the big club. The first thing you'll notice about Hayes is size. He's 6 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs 221 pounds and will immediately become the Hawks biggest forward. He wasn't exactly lighting it up in Rockford, with only five goals in 28 games. However, the Hawks may just be looking for someone to sort of crash and bang on the fourth line, and maybe Hayes can be that. In the preseason, however, Hayes looked a half step or more off the pace in the NHL game, and it remains to be seen if he has picked up a step with almost half a season in the AHL. Pirri had one good game and two "meh" games while up here, though he certainly didn't let anybody down. He wasn't actively bad. He's got a future in this league, whether it's here or with another organization. As for what else what went on in practice, Joel Quenneville has ...
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