Monthly Archives: September 2011

Season Preview: Dave Bolland – Year of ‘The Rat’

photo credit: National Post/Getty

By Brad Gardner

Dave Bolland missed significant time due to injury for the second consecutive regular season, but again proved himself with a strong finish in the playoffs. The center helped key the Blackhawks’ turnaround in their first round series against Vancouver.  Bolland earned a goal and three assists in Chicago’s game four win. He finished the postseason tied for the team lead with six points and led the team with a plus-six rating despite playing in only the final four games of the series.

A high elbow from Pavel Kubina knocked Bolland out of the lineup for the final 14 games of the regular season and start of the playoffs, resulting in his second consecutive injury-shortened season. Despite the missed time, the center’s production rebounded from the previous season in which his effectiveness was limited by a back injury. Surgery on the back eventually cost Bolland half of the 2009-10 regular season and he registered a career-low .41 points per game when he was able to play.

Last season, he upped his output to .61 points per game, a notch better than the .59 mark that helped him earn a 5-year, $16.875 million dollar extension in the summer of 2009. It may not be the top-six production that some expected from a former 100-point scorer at the junior level, but Bolland’s reputation has largely been built as a shutdown center capable of throwing the opposition off its game. Read more »

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Sharp gets emergency appendectomy, Bickell ready, Bieber shows his colors

Patrick Sharp underwent emergency appendectomy surgery on Monday evening.

“Patrick Sharp underwent an emergent surgical appendectomy this evening after experiencing some abnormal abdominal discomfort,” Blackhawks head physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a team statement released Monday night.  “The surgery was successful and I anticipate a full recovery in approximately three to four weeks.”

Based on prior instances across sports, a more likely timetable for an athlete of Sharp’s stature is 2-3 weeks.  Four weeks would push Sharp’s return beyond the Blackhawks opening weekend match ups with the Stars as four weeks from the time of surgery is October 10.

Sharp will be fine.  This development does open the door for increased reps and exhibition game action for the likes of Viktor Stalberg, Rostislav Olesz, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Segal, Brett McLean and others. Read more »

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Season Preview: Marian Hossa – Juggling dominance, injury and aging

By Jon Fromi

In the two seasons Marian Hossa has played in Chicago since signing what is virtually a lifetime contract, he has played in 122 of the Blackhawks’ 164 regular-season contests. Throughout his tenure in the Indian head sweater, Hossa has flashed brilliance to the Blackhawks faithful. In turn, injuries have nagged at the veteran forward from the day he hit town.

Hossa’s success depends on his 32-year-old body’s ability to keep its end of the bargain. Unlike his contract with the Blackhawks, Hossa’s pact with his body has been a shaky one thus far.

Welcome to your thirties, Mr. Hossa. Here’s your pass to the trainer’s room.

Hossa’s health and his ability to make good on the huge financial commitment made by the team is always going to be at the forefront of conversation. Not to be lost is the fact that Chicago still has a hell of a player in Hossa. Read more »

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TTMI~Radio, e.89 – “‘Hog Changes” w/ Mike Peck, voice of the Rockford IceHogs

On this edition of TTMI~Radio I’m joined by Mike Peck, the voice of the Rockford IceHogs.

Mike returns to help us preview the 2011-12 IceHogs’ season by examining the coaching change, new bench boss Ted Dent and the AHL squad’s roster turnover.  We also get Mike’s scouting report on Brandon Segal, who spent the last half of the 2004-05 season in Rockford while a member of the Nashville Predators’ organization.

We also take a look at important players up front and on the defense this year in the wake of key losses offensively as well in experience and leadership.  Ben Smith, Joe Lavin, Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin are discussed as well.  We also get an update on rink refurbishments currently going on at the Beemo Center.

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Thanks as always to Mike for taking time out to speak with us.

Rockford IceHogs single-game tickets are now on sale at IceHogs.com or you can buy tickets by calling (815) 968-5222.  Advanced single-game tickets are available starting at $7.00, up to $22.00.  Day-of-game sales are an additional $1 per seat.

The IceHogs open their regular season home slate on Saturday night October 8th against the Grand Rapids Griffins. You can view the entire IceHogs’ schedule here or in printable PDF form here.

Rockford will also host two preseason home games at BMO Harris Bank Center (formerly the MetroCentre).  The first versus the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night September 28th at 7:05pm.  Then on Saturday October 1 against the Peoria Rivermen, also at 7:05.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Hawks prospects fall again, 6-5 to Sens: Hayes, Saad impress; young goalie struggles


By Brad Vandenberk

On a day when the NFL started its 2011-12 season in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Chicago Blackhawk prospects were at it again in game 2 of the annual Prospect Tournament in Oshawa, Ontario.  This time the opponents were the Ottawa Senators.

Johan Mattsson was the starter between the pipes for this match. Shawn Lalonde, Ryan Stanton, Peter Leblanc, Andrew Shaw and Rob Flick were on the ice for the opening faceoff. [Sunday's complete line up]

The teams wasted no time getting started.   As in the previous contest against the Leafs, the Hawks found themselves trailing early.  5:01 into the opening frame, Ottawa’s Andre Petersson found the back of the net with a backhand over Mattsson’s pad, making it 1-0.

It didn’t take the Hawks long to get the equalizer.  39 seconds after the Sens’ opening tally, Flick won a faceoff in the Sens’ zone.  Shaw got the puck and set Peter Leblanc up in the slot.  With a quick shot over the blocker of the Senators netminder, Matej Machkovsky, it was 1-1.

Chicago drew the first penalty of the game when Ottawa was sent off for Interference.  Although this was suppose to be the Hawks’ chance to show their power play, they were quickly fooled by a short handed goal by Ottawa’s crafty forchecker, Corey Cowick.  Mattsson was out of position trying to play the puck which ended up on a Sens’ stick and then to the back of the net making it 2-1.  Read more »

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Rookie tourney: Game 1 recap – Maple Leafs drop Hawks 4-2, Paradis injured


By Brad Vandenberk

Annual rookie tournaments have begun all over North America, getting fans and players excited with less than a week until training camp starts.  The Chicago Blackhawks are in Oshawa, Ontario playing the likes of Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Toronto.  Game 1 saw the Hawks square off against the Maple Leafs at the General Motors Centre.

Donned in their red jerseys, the Hawks began the tournament with a determined effort against the Leafs.  Mac Carruth was the starting goalie joined by starters Shawn Lalonde and Dylan Olsen on defense.  Mark McNeil was flanked by Ludvig Rensfeldt and Jimmy Hayes up front. [Hawks game roster]

The Hawks got their first chance at a power play as the ref made a hooking call at 1:52 of the first period.  They were unable to capitalize however.

It didn’t take long for the fists to start flying as 5’10” Andrew Shaw took on 6’5” Jamie Devane with a David versus Goliath type match.  [Highlights at bottom of this report]

After Devane served his 5 minute major for fighting, he opened the scoring for the Leafs as a puck was shot wide from the blue line and bounced to the side of the net. Devane, standing on the door step, quickly shot the puck over Carruth making the score 1-0 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first.

Philippe Paradis left the 1st period after being hit hard in the offensive zone and grimacing his way back to the bench.  Paradis did not return.  [ed.  note: Paradis did not dress in Sunday’s game vs Ottawa] Read more »

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LeafsTV Highlights: Blackhawks-Leafs prospect tourney

Highlights of Saturday night’s Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs prospect match up in Oshawa, Ontario.  Toronto took the game 4-2.

Chris DiDomenico and Brandon Saad were the Blackhawks’ goal scorers.

Chicago’s roster here.
 

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Saturday news & notes: David Toews, Tourney starts tonight, Ex-hawks in limbo & former IceHogs’ enforcer now fireman


Blackhawks acquired the rights to Jonathan Toews’ younger brother on Friday.

David Toews arrives via the New York Islanders in exchange for future considerations.

It should be noted that David Toews did not have a pro contract with the Islanders and so far the Blackhawks have not tendered him one either.

David Toews is turning pro after completing his amateur career in the Western Hockey League this past spring.  He has joined Blackhawks’ prospects in Oshawa this weekend for the four-day round-robin rookie tournament.  Like his brother, David is a centerman.

“Stan Bowman called me and wanted me to know that they weren’t trying to do Johnny any favors,” David Toews told the Free Press.  “(Bowman) said he liked me as a player and they’re pretty familiar with me because I’ve been training in Chicago all summer.”

David Toews, 21, was drafted by the Islanders in 2008, 66th overall in the third round.  He followed in his older brother’s footsteps attending North Dakota for two years but struggled for ice time and left following his sophomore season.  Toews joined the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) last season and as an overager scored 20 goals and 28 assists in 60 regular season games.  Read more »

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Season Preview: Bryan Bickell – Looking to add net presence

photo credit

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks had several rookies in their lineup throughout the 2010-11 season.  Backup goalie Corey Crawford won most of the raves based on his play down the stretch, but another young man in an Indian head sweater should garner props for his first full season with the Blackhawks.

How about a little respect for forward Bryan Bickell? Read more »

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Season Preview: Niklas Hjalmarsson; One Step Up

photo credit

By Brad Gardner

Niklas Hjalmarsson will have the third-highest cap hit on the Blackhawks’ blue line during the 2011-12 season, meaning increased expectations for the Swedish defender. Chicago GM Stan Bowman opted to match the offer sheet submitted by San Jose during the summer of 2010, so Hjalmarsson is owed 3.5 million dollars this season and two more seasons.

Originally selected in the 4th round, 108th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Hjalmarsson spent parts of two seasons in Chicago before sticking with the big club full time for the 2009-10 season. He was one of the club’s most dependable blueliners throughout the 2010 Stanley Cup run, finishing third among defensemen with 21 minutes of ice time per night and ranking second with a plus-nine rating in 22 playoff games. Hjalmarsson also finished fourth on the blue line with eight points during the 2010 playoffs, giving a glimpse of the potential two-way defender the organization believes he could be. Read more »

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