Hawks' Brandon Mashinter still fighting for roster spot

CHICAGO -- Brandon Mashinter doesn't have a guaranteed spot on the Chicago Blackhawks just yet, but he did get closer to it on Monday.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville confirmed Monday forwards Cody Bass and Pierre-Cedric Labrie are no longer on the NHL active roster. Both players have to go through waivers before being assigned to the AHL.

With Bass and Labrie gone, Mashinter is the lone player left who can replace the physical presence Brandon Bollig provided the Blackhawks last season. Quenneville has said a number of times it's important to have a player like that.

"I think we're down to just one now," Quenneville said after practice on Monday. "We'll see. In that case, I think they're all new to us, at least at our level here. I think Mashinter being in Rockford last year, a little bit more familiar. I think the other guys all did a good job and having some of that element in our organization is a healthy thing to be and a nice situation with some options as we go along here. I thought they all fared well. Mashinter's here now and we're looking forward to seeing how he does this week."

Mashinter is expected to play a fourth-line role if he sticks with the team just as Bollig did last season. Mashinter was on the left wing and joined Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith on the team's fourth line during line rushes on Monday.

Quenneville liked what he saw out of Mashinter in a 5-0 preseason victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

"I was measuring his hockey performance and how he managed the game, and I thought he made a couple nice plays with the puck, and positionally he was strong and aware," Quenneville said. "So he had a good game."

Mashinter believes his play had some positives and negatives on Sunday.

"I had my first fight the other day; I was pretty happy with that," said Mashinter, who has played in 23 career NHL games. "I got a dust off a little bit. I thought I had a pretty good first period, made a few nice plays. Also made a few mistakes I need to work on. Overall, I'm fairly happy with what I've done so far. But there's definitely room for improvement.

"I don't think I've won anything yet. There's still a couple more preseason games left. There's still quite a few players here. I've still got to earn that spot. I've just got to keep working hard."

Quenneville said he is also fine with the fight Mashinter got into with the Oilers' Kale Kessy on Sunday. Quenneville doesn't mind fighting, but he prefers for them not to be staged. The Blackhawks were involved in 16 fights during the regular season last season.

"[Sunday], I thought that fight was part of the game," Quenneville said. "Some of the other fights were extracurricular. But it's not a bad thing to have as well. I respect the challenging, the challenges for the guys that are in that position and knowing that it's not an easy thing to do. You respect what they do and what they bring and it's an important element. Whatever, however they do it, there's nothing wrong with it."

Mashinter believes getting into the fight was necessary. It's a role he stepped into beginning with juniors and has continued in throughout his career. He fought 12 times last season in the NHL and AHL, according to hockeyfights.com.

"These guys haven't seen me fight at all," said Mashinter, who is 6-foot-4, 212 pounds. "I'm sure they've heard of me through Rockford coaches and some of the scouting staff. It was important for me to show them I can do it. I'm not afraid to do it. Because you know, watching video is a little different than seeing it live. I think it was important for them to see."

"I guess I got a little mean streak in me when I get mad. I'm usually a pretty calm guy. I don't talk too much. I'm pretty quiet. I don't like getting hit, so ..."