Jordan Oesterle always has preferred sweaters over suits and ties. But the Blackhawks defenseman has had little control over his wardrobe options this season. For the first seven games Oesterle’s look was more businessman, less hockey player because he was a healthy scratch. They were scratches Oesterle longed to itch. His first opportunity arrived Oct. 19 but lasted just three games. The weight of not playing was, at times, heavy on the 25-year-old’s mind. “The first seven games I sat out, I was back and forth,” Oesterle said. “I never experienced anything like that in my career. Going through that helped me for the next time around. I realized once I’m home from the rink, I park it. I can’t control what the coaches think.” Or can he? Oesterle’s second chance — third, if you count the 10-minute cameo he made Nov. 11 — to make a first impression arrived when Cody Franson was relegated to injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Oesterle has played well enough during the last three games to leave coach Joel Quenneville with a tough decision once Franson or Jan Rutta return from their ailments. “We don’t mind that,” Quenneville said. “We welcome it. That’s a good sign.” That’s because his time around, Oesterle said he didn’t let sitting out get to his very-upper body — his mind. Instead, he said, he plotted a strategy about how he wanted to approach his next chance. No gusto and more “just playing my game.”
Blackhawks defenseman Jordan Oesterle's rule: 'Don't want to come out'
Chicago Tribune | Dec 17