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Hayes set to make NHL debut

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 3:20 PM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Jimmy Hayes
Among the returns on Thursday was a new face, as Jimmy Hayes was recalled from Rockford ahead of the team’s practice and will likely suit up with the fourth line on Friday.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hayes, who has scored 18 points with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs this season. “It’s what I’ve worked for my whole life. It was a great phone call to get. It’s what I’ve worked hard to do and I get a chance.”

At 6-foot-6 and 221 pounds, Quenneville said that he likes the toughness and physicality that Hayes could bring to the lineup, but was also impressed with how the 20-year-old Boston College product had improved his skating.

“I thought he had a good practice out there,” said Quenneville. “I like his size, he has a nice set of hands and has some quickness to his game. I thought he had some quickness to his stride. You watch him on the ice here – he’s got some movement in tight areas, and a little jump to his step. You’re going to need that tomorrow night – we’ve got a quick team coming in here.”

Hayes’ hockey roots run deep; not only was his younger brother, Kevin, the Blackhawks’ first-round pick in 2010, but he is also cousins with former NHLers Tom Fitzgerald and Keith Tkachuk. Hayes said he expected to hear from both of them today.

“It’s great to learn from them; I’ve spoken with them before – I haven’t today, but I’ll probably have a phone call when I get out of here. They both have great advice; they’ve been through it.”