Puck Chatter Radio, e.143, Open Season

By Chris Block

It’s the first this season of an undetermined number of episodes of TheThirdManIn.com’s audio exercise, Puck Chatter~Radio.

On this show, recorded Friday September 25th, Al Cimaglia of Sirius/XM’s NHL Radio joins to discuss the latest in the Patrick Kane off season saga, the investigation and Kane’s presence in training camp during the ongoing matter.

We also delve into the Blackhawks roster shakeup, a few of the new faces and more.

Listen here in your browser by hitting the play button below.

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Or, right-click here to download PuckChatter~Radio, e.143.


For more training camp previewing, check out our Prospect Watch report leading into camp from the Committed Indian Training Camp Preview issue.

Article available in PDF form here.



Summer Hockey Ops Changes: Blackhawks increase scouting staff, Hold steady on analytics

By Chris Block

There’s been plenty of change on and off the ice this off season in Chicago.

The Blackhawks have added several new professional and amateur scouts to the Hockey Operations department. There are also some changes in the developmental staff and a few departures of note.

New Goaltending Developmental Coach

When Andrew Allen joined the Buffalo Sabres as their new NHL goaltending coach this summer, it created a coaching vacancy on the Rockford IceHogs’ staff and in the Blackhawks developmental realm.

That hole was filled this week when the organization hired Peter Aubry away from the Lake Superior State Lakers (WCHA) where he coached the Lakers’ defense and helped out with the goaltenders.

Aubry, 38, is a former goaltender who was an assistant on the Lake Superior staff for one season. Prior to that, he was an assistant for Mercyhurst College, his alma mater (1998-02), for three years. Mercyhurst is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Read more »

Blackhawks hold mini-camp in Sweden this week; Artemi Panarin’s first team workouts

By Chris Block

With just about a month to go before the Blackhawks open NHL training camp in Chicago, players will be accelerating their off season workout regimens in preparation for the season.

Some players who will partake in the rookie tournament in early September will need to be in peak condition sooner.

With that in mind, the Blackhawks, in cooperation with the Djurgarden hockey club in Stockholm, are conducting a conditioning mini-camp this week in Sweden.

It’s an annual summer tradition now for the club, organized by Barry Smith, the Blackhawks Director of Player Development.

Players expected to take part in this week’s mini-camp include: Read more »

Sunday night’s HockeeNight PuckCast and other audio talking recent Blackhawks trades, draft and much more

By Chris Block

A couple podcast links for you today, since I haven’t been putting out any of my own recently.

Sunday night, I joined our friends at HockeeNight.com for their weekly PuckCast program. We broke down the Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns trade, Brandon Saad staying out of negotiations with the Hawks, the state of the Hawks and much more.

Click the play button to listed to the 90 minute podcast in your browser. The player isn’t working properly so head over to HockeeNight’s page to listen to this podcast.


The download link to the show is here. You may have to create a free account at TalkShoe to download the MP3 file. Itunes users can simply search the podcast section and download the show and subscribe to HockeeNight’s feed there.

Two weeks ago I was the guest on Bill Swerski’s Sports Talk Chicago. This was recorded the same day Brandon Saad was traded to Columbus. Host Shawn and I did an hour that night on the Saad deal, the Blackhawks’ draft, other new players and more prospect related topics.

The link to download or listed to that podcast is here:




News on Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp

By Chris Block

The annual summer Chicago Blackhawks Prospect and development camp opens this Sunday at Johnny’s IceHouse West in Chicago and continues through Friday July 17th.

The full roster of attendees will be released by the team soon. Virtually all recent Blackhawks unsigned draft picks will participate as well as many current Rockford IceHogs players.

As always, the organization will lure many free agents from the NCAA, junior hockey and Europe for the six day camp.

Goaltending, perhaps, has become the most intriguing position of all now for the team with the front office moving Antti Raanta last month and honoring Anders Nilsson’s trade request last week.

Kyle Hayton (21, St. Lawrence-NCAA), Connor LaCouvee (21, Boston University-NCAA) and Stefan Steen (22, Vaxjo Lakers-Swedish Hockey League) are three goaltenders who have accepted free agent invites and are expected to be in camp on Sunday. Read more »

Lindbloom’s View: Fanfare for the Common Man

Lindbloom_top_20150703Remember man, that you are dust…

“A year has come ‘n’ gone since we heard the news ’bout Billie Joe
Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going ’round, Papa caught it and died last Spring
And now Mama doesn’t seem to wanna do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.” – Bobbie Gentry 

By Rich Lindbloom

Passing through the back roads of Mississippi last week, I noticed an old abandoned grocery store. With all the talk of a “Blackhawk Dynasty” being bantered about, the dilapidated grocery store stood in stark contrast to the holy anointing of the Blackhawks. I’m sure that little mom and pop place named C L Prather Grocery, also had its day in the sun.  Read more »

Hawks say goodbye to Antti Raanta; Now look to solve depth goaltending puzzle again

By Chris Block

For the time being, goaltending is suddenly in short supply once again for the Blackhawks.

On Saturday after completion of the NHL Entry Draft, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman traded goaltender Antti Raanta to the New York Rangers in exchange for minor league forward Ryan Haggerty.

Haggerty, 22, will be a second year pro this coming season. He posted 15 goals and 18 assists in playing all 76 regular season games for the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2014-15. Haggerty notched 2 goals and 4 assists in 14 playoff games for Hartford.

The undrafted right winger out of R.P.I. is a Stamford, CT native and figures to add nice layer of scoring to the IceHogs.

Haggerty is familiar with IceHogs rookie defenseman Michael Paliotta. The due played two seasons together in the United States National Development Team Program. Haggerty is six weeks older than Paliotta. Read more »

No movement from Hawks on Day One; Names to keep an eye on for Day Two of NHL Draft

By Chris Block

Friday evening’s opening round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft came and went without any involvement from the Chicago Blackhawks.

The anticipated trade of Patrick Sharp did not materialize as of late Friday, and general manager Stan Bowman was unable to move any other contracts, with Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg being the names prominently being floated as on the block.

Bowman and company were also unable to maneuver their way into a first round pick. The Arizona Coyotes used the pick they obtained from the Blackhawks in the Antoine Vermette trade to select Kelowna’s Nick Merkley, a 5’10” playmaking center who plays on the gritty size and was seen as a mid first round pick by most draft services.

There was a lot of movement up and down the first round board. Boston made the biggest headlines of the day swinging separate deals with Calgary and Los Angeles so that the Bruins wound up with the #13, #14 and #15 picks on Friday. Boston sent restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton to the Flames for the #15 pick, the #45 and #52. The Bruins then sent fan favorite Milan Lucic to the Kings in exchange for the #13 pick, goalie Martin Jones and minor league defenseman Colin Miller.

Ottawa traded goaltender Robin Lehner and center David Legwand to Buffalo in exchange for the 21st pick, which the Sens used to take center Colin White of the US National Development Team. White is headed to Boston College and regularly draws comparisons to Patrick Bergeron. White grew up in Boston and is a B’s fan. Read more »

Salary Cap and Reality of Off Season Now Set; A look at Blackhawks position and options

[As I noted on Twitter last week, our Summer Blackhawks prospect rankings, originally scheduled for release on Monday, will be delayed due to a family emergency that had me pulled away and out of town last week. I don’t want to commit to a new date just yet, but I am working on it. The draft has taken precedent now. Thanks to all who sent nice notes the past week. I was off the grid for the most part. To those I didn’t get back to, I do appreciate it.]

By Chris Block

Today will kick-off our draft week coverage with the requisite state of the Blackhawks roster business in the wake of the salary cap becoming official for next season.

The Blackhawks currently do not own a 1st round selection in the NHL Draft this Friday in Sunrise, Florida. Chicago occupies just 2 spots over the initial 120 picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. You can expect that to change between now and this weekend, with the Hawks eyeing picks in return for some currently rostered players. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the situation the Blackhawks are in now because of new contracts kicking in, others still to be hammered out and the salary cap being the primary enemy of the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

2015-16 Salary Cap Guidelines Set

NHL released its parameters for the 2015-16 salary cap on Tuesday in conjunction with the National Hockey League Players Association per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new “upper limit” is set at $71.4 million, up $2.4M from the 2014-15 season. Read more »

Blackhawks One Win From Stanley Cup Following 2-1 Victory In Game 5

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks wrested control of their Stanley Cup Final from the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night. A strong defensive effort, paired with opportunistic goals by Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette, resulted in a 2-1 Blackhawks triumph in Game 5.

The Hawks bring a 3-2 series lead into Chicago Monday night as they attempt to finish the series on home ice. It was far from easy; for the fifth time in as many games, the margin of victory was a single goal.

First Period-It was the Blackhawks who came out on the attack in the opening minutes. Brandon Saad got a couple of shots to Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop. The Lightning returned fire with an odd-man rush late in the second minute, though Victor Hedman’s centering attempt was broken up. The Hawks blitzed Bishop with a few pucks from the fourth line of Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw. The Lightning countered with a strong shift in the fifth minute. Read more »