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Old December 17th, 2017, 11:59 PM   #1
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making the Hawks roster in training camp

Vinnie Hinostroza the Blackhawks fan never thought much about the possibility of Vinnie Hinostroza the Blackhawks player.

Being in the NHL was distant from his mind while growing up in northwest suburban Bartlett. He said when he and current linemate Ryan Hartman played on the same youth football team at 13 — Hinostroza was the running back, Hartman the fullback — hockey was just another thing they did.

We were huge Hawks fans, but at that age we were just focused on being the best player at every sport https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/bl...rsey-c-24.html,” Hinostroza said. “I don’t think you really think about playing in the NHL. You just focus on having fun, playing outside, enjoying your friends.”

That focus changed, of course, as the years passed. And the beginning of this season, when Hinostroza was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs after not making the Hawks roster in training camp, proved to be the most important for the 23 year old center.

He massaged his mental approach and paid little attention to his beloved Hawks, instead aiming his energy at rejoining the team after totaling six goals and eight assists in 56 NHL games over parts of the previous two seasons.

“I wasn’t really https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/cu...rsey-c-23.html watching the Hawks ,” he said. “I was focusing on myself.

“If you go to the rink every day and you’re kind of a bum and don’t work hard, nothing good is going to come of it. You’re not going to come back up. I just wanted to get back here.”

Hinostroza praised his time with Rockford, though inside he couldn’t wait to get out.

“It was great walking in this locker room and seeing all these familiar faces,” Hinostroza said. “I’m friends with all the guys now, so it’s cool to come here and know everyone.

“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable this year. I’m focused on a lot of mental stuff, and it’s helping my game a lot.”

That, in turn, has helped the Hawks a lot. They have won all four games since recalling Hinostroza, though he quickly dismissed that as coincidence.

Despite several ripe scoring opportunities during his first three games, including one on his first shift of the season, Hinostroza had been scoreless. That changed Thursday, when Patrick Sharp’s picture perfect pass set up Hinostroza for a goal less than two minutes into a 5 1 victory over the Jets.

“The past four games I feel I got a lot of scoring chances Michal Rozsival Jersey,” Hinostroza said. “Sharp and Hartman made a good play there. It was nice to see that one go in for all of us.

“We’ve kind of been snakebitten the four games I’ve been here. Now that we’ve got one, it gives us more confidence.”

And it gives coach Joel Quenneville more confidence in Hinostroza. Quenneville had nothing but kind words for him after Tuesday’s 3 2 overtime victory against the Panthers.

“Vinnie came with good energy,” Quenneville said. “He had purpose, he had some responsibility defensively. That line was good.”

And things should improve with time, according to Patrick Kane.

“He s probably one of the few guys who can really create on his own just with his speed and his whole skill set https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/ar...rsey-c-22.html,” Kane said.
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