Aug 082011

–We are now 60 days away from opening night of the Blackhawks’ regular season.  The AHL’s too for that matter.

Rockford IceHogs have announced two preseason home games.  Both will be played at the MetroCentre.

Wed Sept 28 vs Chicago Wolves, 7:05pm
Sat Oct 01 vs Peoria Rivermen, 7:05pm

The IceHogs will have one other exhibition game in Milwaukee on September 30th.  That game will be played at the Milwaukee School of Engineering inside the Kern Center.

–Hearing now the loan agreement of Cristobal Huet between the Blackhawks and Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss National League is a done deal.

Last week, after independent reports surfaced in European news outlets saying Huet would play a second season with Gotteron in finishing out his Blackhawks’ contract, Gotteron’s management disputed the reports saying a deal had yet to be finalized.  It appears it has now.  For what its worth however, Huet isn’t listed on the Dragon’s web site as of late Monday evening.

Ray Emery the role model –Tremendous story on Ray Emery, might actually win over a few fans [Craig Custance, Sporting News]

Patrick Kane explains how his wrist injury evolved into surgery. []  Photo of Kane with his cast.  Kane attended Mike Haviland’s youth hockey clinic in New Jersey over the weekend.

Dan Carcillo and Andrew Brunette were introduced to the Chicago media on Monday.  Brunette said he’s slow, but confident and excited to be a Blackhawk.  And Carcillo said he hated a bunch of Canucks.  So now he’s a great guy, teammate and huge fan favorite.

Carcillo specifically named three Canucks when pressed; Tanner Glass, Raffi Torres and Maxim Lapierre.  Of course Glass and Torres are no longer Canucks, but its not like they died.  He can still dislike them.

Torres is now with Phoenix: same number of meetings.  And Glass is now with the Jets, who, coincidentally, will be at the United Center on October 13th for Carcillo’s first game as a Blackhawk.  First, because Carcillo the Hawks inherit Carcillo’s two-game suspension for verbally abusing officials during the Flyers-Bruins series in May.  So there you go.  Something to look forward to.

Andrew Shaw and Rob Flick signed AHL contracts with Rockford.

–First cuts at the USA World Junior evaluation camp are expected this morning.  After all, only four Chicago prospects made it to Lake Placid.  I’d be surprised if any are sent home this morning.  Goalie Mac Carruth dropped out because of an injury.  Brandon Saad simply declined his invite.

Justin Holl scored a power play goal for the USA-White squad’s 5-3 win over Finland on Monday.

Adam Clendening (D), Stephen Johns (D) and Kevin Hayes (C) were on the Blue squad together.  Clendending and Hayes hooked up on their team’s second goal in a 4-3 overtime win over Sweden today.  Clendening also assisted on the winner.   Hayes also picked up a goal in Sunday’s intra-squad game.

Clendening talks camp, being a final cut for the U20 team in Buffalo. {Niagara Gazette]

–More good news where ‘Hawks prospects are concerned.  Ludvig Rensfeldt  has opted to leave Brynas in Sweden and will play for the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League this season.  The move will give Rensfeldt a jump start on a transition to the North American game and would indicate to the Blackhawks organization that he’s serious about wanting to be an NHL’er.

“[Rensfeldt]’s an important prospect for that organization and they want him to come to North America,” Sarnia coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu told

–Sounds like newly drafted (7th round) Blackhawks’ Swedish goaltending prospect Johan Mattsson is the early favorite to be the number one starter in Sudbury (OHL) this season.  [Sudbury Star]  Mattsson is also expected to be Sweden’s starter in the World Junior championships this winter.  Mattsson (6-3, 200) was the last player chosen in the 2011 draft, a pick the Hawks got from Boston when they swapped that one for a 7th rounder at the 2010 draft.

Mark McNeil talks about last month’s prospect camp experience [Prince Albert Herald]

–Don’t forget the Blackhawks prospects will again participate in a “rookie” tournament prior to the team’s official start of training camp.  From September 10-13 at General Motors Centre in Oshawa , Ontario, the Hawks’ best young prospects will partake in a round robin 4-team, 3-game tournament against prospects of the Senators, Maple Leafs and Penguins.

– did a Q&A with Brent SopelIt was transcribed and posted on Kent Wilson’s site on Monday.  Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times also talked to Sopel before the former Hawk left for Russia on Monday.

In Russian, Sopel loosely translates to “Snot.”  CT will be disappointed to learn that.

–Mike Babcock took former IceHogs head coach and new Red Wings’ assistant Bill Peters to scout Canada’s WJC evaluation camp in Alberta even though Detroit does not have a prospect there.

–Andy Bohmbach, the former Wisconsin Badger winger who played  in six games with Rockford last season, has signed an AHL contract with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers’ American League affiliate.  Bohmbach was on a minor league deal with the IceHogs last year as well.  He spent most of his season with Toledo.

–Speaking of, Adirondack Phantoms and Penn State University are in negotiations to play outdoors at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly this January too.

–Former NHL defenseman John  Slaney announced his retirement.

–Rumors persist Jarkko Ruutu, older brother of former Hawk first rounder Tuomo, will be playing for Jokerit in his home country Finland this coming season.  Jarkko finished last season with Anaheim.

–Left out this link to Bickell’s golf tourney last week.  There’s a photo of Bickell, club in hand.  What was noteworthy about that interview with the Hawks web site was Bickell saying he would “hopefully” be back on the ice in August.  Maybe it’s nothing.  Bickell is no wordsmith, but why would he be hoping to be skating in August if he were fully healed in early July?

–Chicagoan Robbie Earl, 26, signed with Dinamo Riga (Latvia) in the KHL over the weekend but has since had a change of heart.  Not sure where this leaves him.  Riga is moving on and it looks like they won’t make a big stink over this.  Earl most recently has played for Houston and Toronto in the AHL.  Earl also starred at Wisconsin with Joe Pavelski, Jack Skille, Jake Dowell, Rene Bourque, Adam Burish and Ryan Suter.

— Rockford scheduling a home date in late September shows confidence they’ll have their new dasher board system in time to prepare the ice and host a game.  Installation will take two to three weeks and that was expected to begin around Labor Day.  The last scheduled event there is August 20th, a mixed martial arts card headlined by former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.  So hopefully they’ve bumped up the install date.  The new dashers, benches, penalty boxes and such are currently being built, so they can’t start the install until that’s completed, they ship and arrive.

–Nashville Predators now have two very interesting reclamation projects.  Last month they signed Niclas Bergfors, who went from being a key piece in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade to Craig Ramsey’s dog house, to Florida, to not getting a qualifying offer from the Panthers, to the Preds.  Now David Poile signs defenseman Jack Hillen, formerly of the NY Islanders.  Hillen, 25, settles for a one-year, two-way contract for $650,000 at the NHL level and $105k in the minors, according to the Predators’ official web site.  The Minnetonka, Minnesota native posted 4 goals and 22 points in 64 games on Long Island in 2010-11.  He’s not big (5-11) but has strong, agile strides.  He’s more of an offensive player who was at his best when he got ice time with Mark Streit two years back and really hasn’t been the same since taking an Alexander Ovechkin slap shot to the face during the middle of the 09-10 season.  Hillen made a guaranteed $550k last year.  Bergfors takes a hit from the $900k he made in ’10-11 to the $575,000 he’s agreed to for ’11-12, another one year deal.

–Shea Weber got a one-year arbitration award of $7.5M.  That’s about right when you consider he’ s in the same range of age and level of abilities as Duncan Keith and Keith will make $8.0 million this coming season.

–Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News posted on Twitter Monday that sources indicate to him that the 2012 NHL Draft will indeed be in Pittsburgh.

–NBC Sports game analyst Pierre McGuire turned 50 on Monday.  McGuire is now exclusively with Versus/NBC/NBC Sports, leaving TSN.

–I did an IceHogs’ Q&A for a Charlotte Checkers blog over the weekend.  They’re doing one with each opponent in the newly aligned AHL Mid-west division [IceHogs, Checkers, Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria].   Charlotte is moving over from the Eastern Conference, replacing Manitoba.  (It makes sense given how easy, frequent and reasonably priced Chicago-Charlotte flights are.)  It’ll be up later this week at

Tony Salmelainen, once Trent Yawney’s favorite player, turned 30 on Monday.

–…I’m looking for a few Blackhawks’ writers for this season.  Specifically for game recaps, but also game previews and additional analysis or commentary.  I’ve had a decent amount of response so far.  Experience is not necessarily required, but helpful.  Or, if you already write for or your own blog and you are looking to move, cut back or merge, we’re willing to talk about that too.  I’ve had one of those already.  If you’re interested, email for more info and exactly what I’m looking for.

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  6 Responses to “IceHogs preseason games, Huet, Emery, Kane, Carcillo, Hawks prospects, Sopel and more”

  1. That was a pretty amazing piece on Emery. How can you not pull for him?

    were all those Badgers on the same team?

    Chris, who would you rather have, Torres or Carcillo?

    • That’s kind of like a bartender asking someone what kind of shot they’d rather have – Prairie Fire or a Mustache Ride?

      Earl only played with Suter and Bourque one year, his freshman season. Earl played three years there. Left after the 2006 NCAA championship season.

  2. “In Russian, Sopel loosely translates to “Snot.” CT will be disappointed to learn that.”

    I just wanted to reassure you that I have gotten over it.

  3. CT’s trying to figure out what’s Russian for “Huge Dong”, and have Sopel change his name to that.

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