Monthly Archives: March 2011

Injured IceHogs advance season-long win streak; Jimmy Hayes debuts

Hours after the Chicago Blackhawks and NHL office made his first professional hockey contract official, Jimmy Hayes got his first experience in the pro ranks for the Rockford IceHogs.

Under the guise of an amateur-try out contract, Hayes made his debut in Cleveland on Wednesday night as the IceHogs took on the Lake Erie Monsters.  Hayes’ entry-level pro contract with the Hawks kicks in on July 1st.

Hayes acquitted himself quite well in his unofficial pro debut.  He exhibited nice hands, decent wheels and didn’t seem too out of place all things considered.  The adjustment from college to the pro-pace wasn’t too much of a factor, at least in Lake Erie.  Oklahoma City on Friday poses a different challenge.

On his first shift, skating with Mathis Olimb and Ben Smith on the Hogs’ second-line Hayes showed good strides in transition leading a Hogs’ odd-man rush up the right side boards.  Hayes strung a slick pass just an inch or two further than Olimb could handle though, coming down just left of the slot and they didn’t get a scoring chance there.

In the middle period, Hayes again led a rush, but it also amounted to nothing.  Hayes was carrying the lead with Olimb and Andy Bohmbach on a 3-on-2, but Hayes lost the handle as he strode through the right circle.  He finished the game with three shots.  He’s not shy on the body but it appears he prefers to use his stick and he’ll have to shake that too much finesse with his head down college habit.  So its great for the Hawks, and IceHogs, Hayes is able to join up for some valuable minutes before an all-important off season.

Before the game Bill Peters noted he plans to dress Hayes in all seven (Wednesday included) of the IceHogs remaining games.  Peters was down six regulars (add another if you count Jeremy Morin) on Wednesday, so Hayes saw as much or more ice time as he figures to get in any single outing over the final two weeks of the season. Read more »

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The Wearing and Tearing: Hawks no-show in Beantown

Boy, let’s hope the NHL doesn’t schedule any games on back-to-back days should the Blackhawks make the playoffs.

The Blackhawks roll-over and play dead act in Boston on Tuesday was widely anticipated and accepted by many before the two teams even took the ice before a nationwide audience at TD Banknorth Garden.

You see, because the Hawks skated so exceptionally hard to earn a 61-minute win over an AHL goaltender in Detroit twenty-four hours earlier, it’s perfectly understandable the team wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the Vezina Trophy frontrunner and the big bad bully Bruins.

Right.

Boston outshot the Hawks 9-0 in the first seven and a half minutes of the contest.  From the onset, the visitors had little to offer.  Apparently, whatever the team had stowed in its ‘care-tank’ was exhausted the night before in Motown.

There’s a good chance Milan Lucic would have scored the game’s first goal at that point had Marcus Kruger not slashed Lucic’s stick on the Bruins’ 15-foot rebound opportunity.  An early gift from referee Paul Devorski as that act was overlooked (because Lucic’s stick didn’t break) but when Kruger and Lucic continued and got entangled in the battle for what then became a loose puck, Devorski called Lucic for holding. Read more »

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Brophey, Peters talk blindside hit; Olsen and Pirri notes

Friday night Evan Brophey became the latest player to add fuel to the blindside head shot debate.  And its likely he’s going to face a multi-game suspension due to a decision he made in the blink of a eye.

NHL observers who recall Joe Thornton’s check on David Perron back on November 4, 2010 would find that as a comparable hit.

Brophey had just stepped out of the penalty box mid-way through the third period with the IceHogs up 3-1.

A diagonal Hamilton pass through the neutral zone put Bulldogs’ forward Hunter Bishop in the direct line of Brophey as rejoined the play.  Brophey took a step or two and launched himself into Bishop.  Brophey is 6-3.  Bishop is 6-foot.

“Obviously it was a bad hit,” a conciliatory Brophey said after the game.

“It was to his head.  And my intentions were to just go shoulder to shoulder.  But it was a blindside hit and I feel bad.  And I’m sorry about that hit.”

Brophey has never been thought of as a dirty player, or one who takes cheap shots while an opponent is in a vulnerable position.  On Friday though, a split-second decision to separate Hunter Bishop from the puck in the neutral zone put Brophey in the eye of the current state of head shots, blind side hits and players putting some respect for each other back into the game.

Conventional hockey thinkers would say Brophey did what he was supposed to do.  Except he overshot his target when striking Bishop’s head.

“It was an unfortunate situation where I had just come out of the box and the puck came to him,” Brophey explained in his own words.   “So, I was trying, like I said, to go shoulder to shoulder.  But I clipped him right in the head, straight on.  You know, I feel bad and I apologize for that.” Read more »

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PK perfect, Taffe clutch; IceHogs prevail 4-3 in OT, to be without Brophey after blindside head shot

 
The IceHogs faithful do finally have something to cheer about.

After dropping 9 of 12 home games dating back to mid-January, the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 overtime victory on Friday night gave the team something it hasn’t had all season – a 3-game home winning streak.

Friday’s win over the Hamilton Bulldogs also put the IceHogs within one game of the .500 mark in their own barn (16-17-2-2), and two wins short of an overall .500 record (30-32-4-5).

The IceHogs haven’t had a losing home record since entering the AHL in 2007. Including Saturday night’s contest, they have three dates remaining on the home slate, wrapping on April 8 & 9. Rockford will finish their 2010-11 season at Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday April 10 at 3 o’clock.

Rockford will first try for home victory number 17 on Saturday night when they host the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals defeated Chicago in Milwaukee on Friday 4-2. With the win, the Admirals stayed one point ahead of the Houston Aeros for the top spot in the West division and best record in the Western conference.

On Friday, the IceHogs persevered just enough through a tough third period to have a little Jeff Taffe magic lift them to victory in OT. Read more »

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TTMI~Radio e.78 “Also For Sale”

On this week’s edition of TheThirdManIn~Radio we’re joined by regular contributor, the flamboyant Dieter Kurtenbach (@DKurtenbach for you Twitter kids) who was coming to us direct from Sin City on his #ZestyLiving 2011 ~Tour.

I must hand it to Dieter, by 6pm in Las Vegas I’m in a speedo floating face up in the adult pool.

Over the course of the hour and a half, we chattered a bevvy of topics including but not limited to…..

- The Marcus Kruger invasion. What it means & what to expect
- General optimism and praise for the GM on this move
- Why Kruger’s SEL #’s are a bit deceiving
- Patrick Sharp out 2-3 weeks. Sigh of relief, or no
- Someone does a turnabout on Chris Campoli and someone not so much
- Corey Crawford’s gas tank
- Statistical look at the last month
- Telling ‘Hawks stats involving Hossa, Seabrook, PK, PP & more
- Which three players have been on the ice for all 4 SHG-against this year
- Too many men on the ice
- Crawford’s stand in back-to-backs
- Skille’s back….
- What he’s up to now in FLA
- What to do with Frolik
- Who slides in on top line
- What Kruger move says about Rockford crop
- Winning face offs
- A rant on Blackhawks fans making fools of fan base in Glendale
- Other fan bases who can’t get enough of themselves on the road
- Even more fools
- Sick of Coyotes fans whining
- Gary Bettman: Smartest man in the room
- Should Coyotes stick, how another team relocating to the Peg may impact CHI
- Blues For Sale
- Playing a man down in Dallas
- 3-point Game tweak would tighten standings
- All this and so much more…. including the abrubt surprise ending followed by ten minutes of nothing.  Second-best segment of the show right there.

Click play below to listen here in your browser.  Right-click here to download

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BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn ~ for entire show archive
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What the heck is a TMI“~Radio, the non-acknowledge~Acknowledgment edition, will air (or stream) next Wednesday night, March 30th at 8pm central.  You can join us LIVE at this link.  Should be fun.  And thanks to everyone as always for listening.

someonefamiliarwiththesituation@TheThirdManIn.com 

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Lindbloom: Put a little back into it

By Rich Lindbloom

At first glance one might think that’s a picture of Jonathan Toews destroying a locker after a “heartbreaking” loss to Dallas last week. If you look a little closer though, you’ll recognize a young Pete Townsend taking some angst out on his H Watt amplifiers. One can only imagine what Keith Moon is doing to his drum set at this point. So what the hell does this have to do with Chicago – Blackhawk – Hockey?

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and list your three all time favorite concerts. (RoseLee, you can’t mention Frank Sinatra three times.) I’m pretty sure that I can tell you about one that tops anything you’ve ever witnessed, and I wasn’t even there. It’s a rare treat to catch a group before they make it big, in a smaller venue where the sound is so much better than an arena like the U.C. In my estimation, and I know as much about music as I do hockey, there is no better place to see a concert than the Auditorium Theatre. (The House of Blues is a close second.)  I had one friend who saw U-2 in the 70’s at the Park West – can you imagine seeing U-2 in their formative years?! But even that pales to the tale I’m about to expound on. Read more »

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Marcus Kruger joining the Blackhawks this week?

Marcus Kruger

Potential for big news coming out of Sweden this morning as SPORT-Expressen is reporting that Marcus Kruger will be leaving Sweden and making his Blackhawks’ debut as soon as this week, according to the report.

[UPDATE: 7:15 am]  The Djurgarden Hockey web site is now reporting that Kruger is, in fact, on his way to Chicago to join the Blackhawks.

Marcus Kruger was the Blackhawks 5th round pick (149th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, playing for the Djurgarden Jr. team at that time.  If the report is accurate, he would join Viktor Stalberg and Niklas Hjalmarsson in the Swedish-born Blackhawks contingent this week, about six month’s earlier than previously planned.

Kruger, who will turn 21 in May, signed his 3-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on June 18, 2010.  His cap hit, per listing at CapGeek.com is $900,000 and his deal is heavy on performance bonuses (possible $310k) this year.  Kruger’s base salary this season is $590,000 plus a $90,000 signing bonus.

This season Kruger led the Djurgarden Elitserien (Swedish Elite League) squad in scoring compiling 6 goals and 29 assists for 35 points. Read more »

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Update on Jeremy Morin’s health

Top Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin has been inactive due to an “upper body” injury he suffered in a game against the Chicago Wolves in Rosemont, Illinois back on January 15th.

Morin acquired the injury roughly a minute before the end of the opening period when he was hip-checked by Wolves’ defenseman Andrey Zubarev, catapulting him up and over Zubarev, resulting in Morin coming down on the top of his head (helmet on) as he struck the ice.

He is believed to have suffered a concussion on that incident.

Progress is being made as Morin’s health is improving, but a target for Morin’s return to the ice is still uncertain.

“You know what, I haven’t had an update on (Morin) for awhile,” IceHogs’ head coach Bill Peters said after Saturday night’s 4-3 win over Peoria.   “We’ve had some other guys that have been dinged up a little bit here that have been kept under the radar.  DJ [Jones, IceHogs trainer] has done a good job with those guys.”

“I know he’s feeling better,” Peters continued.  “I talked to (Morin) the other day and I had a good visit with him here today. 

“He’s starting to feel better.  So, I think there is some progress being made there.”

With just 11 games remaining in the IceHogs’ season after tonight (Hogs skate at Grand Rapids on Sunday), time is running short on Morin’s potential return to Rockford’s lineup.

The first step would be to resume skating with his teammates, which he hasn’t done since the injury occurred.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Blackhawks recall Ben Smith

Chicago Blackhawks recalled forward Ben Smith from the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday.  An announcement will be made on Sunday morning.

Smith has played in twenty games since missing a month with a concussion suffered in a January 8th game against Grand Rapids.  In that game, widely regarded as Smith’s best performance as a pro at the time, Smith posted 3 assists in a dominant 6-0 win over the Griffins.

In the 20 games since his return, Smith has 8 goals and an assist.  However, seven of those eight goals have come in the last ten games.

Overall, Smith has 15 goals and 10 assists in 55 games in his rookie season with the IceHogs.

This move comes two days following the Blackhawks March 17th game at Dallas, a 5-0 loss to the Stars.  A late afternoon Bryan Bickell scratch left the Blackhawks short a player and they played the game with 17 skaters, one short of the regular 18.

Thursday’s loss could loom large next month if Chicago and Dallas wind up in a tie-breaker situation, in which Dallas’ 5-0 victory gave them the deciding head-to-head advantage.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Undisciplined Hogs Fall in Ugly 2nd Period


A second period parade to the penalty box saw the Rockford IceHogs go from being down two goals, to heading to their dressing room trailing 5-0 after forty minutes.

After an evenly played first period saw Rockford head to the break down 1-0, the IceHogs had no answer for the visiting Oklahoma City Barons in the middle period.

“We just didn’t physically compete at all,” head coach Bill Peters said after his team’s second consecutive 5-1 home loss. 

“We had some power play chances in the first period; hit the post on one of them on Jeff Taffe’s shot from the point.  Down 1-0 after one, I thought we generated some chances, but I thought they went to work and dug in in the second and we took a bunch of penalties to make it hard on ourselves.  And we couldn’t kill the penalties that we did take.  In essence, that was the game right there in the middle period.” Read more »

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