Monthly Archives: August 2011

Blackhawks well represented at WJC evaluation camp


By Brad Gardner

Seven Blackhawk prospects took part in USA Hockey’s recent World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY from August 6th through the 13th. The camp included an initial roster of 44 Americans as well as teams from Finland and Sweden. Although the U.S. roster is months away from being finalized for the 2012 World Junior Championships to be held in Calgary and Edmonton, beginning December 26th, the camp gives coaches and decision-makers a chance to gauge chemistry among the players as well as test the skaters in certain roles and situations.

The camp opened with a pair of intra-squad scrimmages in which the American invitees were split into two teams: USA Blue and USA White. In the first scrimmage, USA Blue earned the win behind a pair of quick goals by Chase Balisy in the third period. USA White answered the next day, getting out to a 3-0 lead behind two markers from J.T. Miller, and holding onto the lead despite a strong push from Blue late in the game. Both teams then played a third scrimmage against one of the European squads. Blue beat Sweden with an overtime game-winner from Vincent Trochek while White scored three unanswered goals in the second for a 5-3 win over Finland. Read more »

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Wednesday news/notes: Carcillo, Roenick, Chico Maki, Waite, AHL sked and more


Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times has a quick Q&A with Dan Carcillo here.

Jahns asked Carcillo to describe himself away from the ice.  Carcillo said what pretty much every one of his former teammates will say, and its that he’s “pretty much the exact opposite.”  (Opposite, that is, of a loose cannon. My words)

Carcillo: “If something irks me or gets me upset, I usually take it out on the ice.”

That explains a lot.

–Former Blackhawk goaltender Jimmy Waite is the new goaltending coach for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL).  Waite is the younger brother of current Blackhawks’ goaltending coach Stephane Waite.  Jimmy, who is now 42, continued his playing career in Europe until retiring at age 40.  He returns to coach the team he played junior hockey with, the same Chicoutimi organization Waite was playing for when the Hawks drafted him 8th overall in 1987 NHL Draft.  The president of the current day Sagueneens is Guy Carbonneau.

–Apparently there is a site in Europe pushing a rumor saying David Aebischer will be traded to Fribourg-Gotteron soon and Cristobal Huet is out attributing me as the source.  That’s not even close to what I wrote.

–The Maple Leafs revealed their roster for the round-robin rookie camp tournament taking place September 10 – 13 in Oshawa.  The Blackhawks, Senators and Penguins are the other teams involved.

Jeremy Roenick reenacts famous “Swingers” scene. [Yahoo!]

–For those who missed our note the other day, yesterday, August 16, marked the 15-year anniversary of the trade that sent Jeremy Roenick to Phoenix for Alexei Zhamnov. Read more »

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MetroCentre renamed, new IceHogs coaches, Nylander comeback, more Hawks news and notes


A couple IceHogs’ notes from last week.

–After years of trying, the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment [RAVE] Authority finally leased the naming rights to the MetroCentre.

RAVE leased those rights to BMO Harris Bank for a period a five years and a total of $1.3 million, according to a Rockford Register-Star report.

The MetroCentre will now be known as BMO Harris Bank Center.

Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough spoke at the press conference at the MetroCentre on Friday.  Harris is also a prime sponsor of the Blackhawks.  The Rockford deal actually isn’t completely finalized, but a joint memorandum indicated all points will be in place by December 15.

The arena management giant S.M.G. brokered the deal.  S.M.G. has been responsible for booking the MetroCentre since last September.  BMO Harris had already been sponsoring the winter synthetic outdoor ice rink a couple of blocks from the arena at Davis Park, which the RAVE Authority also oversees.

A “grand re-opening” is planned for the IceHogs preseason home opener on September 28.

The ‘BMO’ comes from Bank of Montreal.  I am not making this up – The correct pronunciation on the abbreviation BMO is “Bee-mo”.  So this season, if you take in an IceHogs’ home game, you should say you’re headed to the Bee-Mo, or Bee-mo Harris Bank Center. Read more »

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In Switzerland, set to play another year in Fribourg, Cristobal Huet waits

Photo: SI.com

We have an update here on Cristobal Huet’s status for the 2011-12 season, the final year on his 4-year $22.5 million contract.

For all intents and purposes, the loan transfer agreement between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Fribourg-Gotteron Dragons was settled a couple of weeks back.  Barring any unforeseen developments or a catastrophic injury situation, Huet will not be a part of the Blackhawks organization again in 2011-12.

The Blackhawks will still pay Huet his $5.625M salary for the 2011-12 season and the goaltender will sign another contract with the Swiss National League team.  The France native signed a one-year deal with Fribourg-Gotteron last August but could not be assigned from the Blackhawks until late September because of NHL waiver requirements.

Huet, who turns 36 on September 3rd, is in Switzerland now and training with Gotteron.  In the past couple of days, he’s also been added to the roster on the Dragons’ web site.  At this point, however, the transfer won’t be official until late September.  The team’s preseason exhibition schedule is already underway. Read more »

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Fall bookstore: New releases on Bobby Hull, Mikita, Stellick, Salming and paperback reissues


2010-11 was great year for avid consumers and readers of hockey books.  At this point we’ll take a wait and see approach to measure this coming year’s crop, but there are a few standouts hitting your favorite book outlets before Christmas.

–First, though – Gamers, NHL 12, via EA Sports, for Xbox and PS3 hits stores on Tuesday, Sept 13th.  Steven Stamkos is this year’s cover boy, succeeding Jonathan Toews.  Among the additions to this year’s game are Wayne Gretzky and the Winter Classic game at Heinz Field.

For readers….

Wiley Publications has three new books hitting the market before the end of the year.

Adam Proteau has a book coming out in December.  The title, “Fighting the Good Fight: Why On-Ice Violence is Killing Hockey,” is sure to ruffle some eyebrows.  Proteau is a staunch advocate of eliminating fighting in hockey.  While I’m not really on board with that idea, I am looking forward to this book.  It’s listed at 288 pages, so hopefully it’s an all-encompassing look at the violence issues plaguing the game, not limited to goonery, and possible steps to be taken to curb those, instead of steering it mostly towards fighting.

Former Maple Leafs general manager Gord Stellick also has a book forthcoming on November 8th.  Stellick is now a sports talk radio personality in Toronto.  Stellicktricity promises to be chock full of wit, anecdotal insight on some of the game’s biggest names.   Sounds like it will be similar to Steve Ludzik’s book Been There Done That. – Read more »

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IceHogs preseason games, Huet, Emery, Kane, Carcillo, Hawks prospects, Sopel and more

–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. Read more »

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Patrick Sharp’s five year extension

Negotiations tend to be easy when each side’s interests are one in the same.

Patrick Sharp has said he didn’t want to leave Chicago.  Now, the Blackhawks stepped up to ensure Sharp wouldn’t have an opportunity to make that choice.

….for the next six years anyhow.

On Wednesday, Stan Bowman locked up Sharp through the 2016-17 season with a five-year $29.5 million contract extension.

This season Sharp will play out the one remaining year on a four-year $15.6 million contract he signed back in January of 2008.  Sharp will make $4.2 million in salary this season and spike up to $6 million in the first year of his new extension for the 2012-13 campaign.

It’s a great day for everyone involved.  Sharp is low maintenance, charismatic, widely popular and too good to quickly replace.  Unlike in the case of Brian Campbell, the organization has no one immediately prepared to step into Sharp’s position either this year or next.  Jeremy Morin could be that player on the wing at some point and Mark McNeil or Brandon Pirri could take the second line center position eventually.  Time will tell.  But losing Sharp was never an option or the right thing to do. Read more »

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Huet transfer movement, Sopel talks Siberia, Fraser grievance, Bickell’s recovery, coaching moves and much more


It appears Cristobal Huet will ride out the final year of his Blackhawks’ contract in Europe again this season.  Huet is apparently in negotiations to rejoin Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland’s National-A league for their 2011-12 season.  There had been reports in French and German newspapers indicating Huet was set to join the team for a second season.  However, a statement released by Fribourg-Gotteron on Tuesday stated that a loan agreement with the Blackhawks is not yet finalized.

Should a deal be worked out, Huet would again be teammates with former Chicago Wolves’ winger Simon Gamache.  He’d also have a new one.  Former Blackhawk defenseman and 2003 2nd round pick (59th overall), Michal Barinka has joined Fribourg-Gotteron after time in the Czech and KHL (Yaroslavl) leagues last season.

Despite a strong 2010-11 campaign, Huet was unable to carry a lackluster Fribourg-Gotteron roster above their 22-22-3-3 record, good enough for an 8th place finish out of 12 teams.  Huet did not play well, nor did he get much help, in the team’s brief 4-games-to-none playoff exit at the hands of eventual Swiss league champion, HC Davos.

Fribourg opens training camp this week.  Their regular season begins on the road, September 9th against Jussi Markkanen, Andy Wozniewski, Glen Metropolit; members of EV Zug. Read more »

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Blackhawks payroll skyrockets, Rockford signs two to AHL contracts

If, as Rocky Wirtz claims, the Blackhawks are still operating in the red through this past season, the company will have its work cut out for itself this coming year.

As things stand now, the Blackhawks will spend a minimum-projected $77 million on player salaries in 2011-12.  This is about an $8.5 million increase on what was spent in 2010-11, $68.5M.  The Hawks spent $66.0M in 2009-10, including performances bonuses ($4.1M) that went penalized against the Hawks cap the following season.

While the team at this point sits roughly $3M under the $64.3M salary cap ceiling with the roster one player over the 23-man limit, several factors will have the team spending almost $13 million more than the “upper limit.” Read more »

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