Oct 112011

Corey Crawford was given Monday’s practice off (Sunday was an off day for the entire team) to heal a slight groin pull, as reported by CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers.

More on that, as well as an update on Ben Smith with quotes from Myers here.

Jesse Rogers talks to Dan “Car Bomb” Carcillo about his Chicago debut this Thursday versus the Winnipeg Jets:

Carcillo on his nickname: “Everyone has nicknames. It just so happens mine is better than everyone else’s.”

Ben Smith (concussion) skated Monday but is not cleared for contact.

Viktor Stalberg (knee) skated on his own and Joel Quenneville intimated he could start skating with teammates in practice again later this week.

Carcillo practiced on a line with Kane and Hossa.

Jonathan Toews talks about getting that first goal out of the way… wanting to be a great offensive player. [Chris Kuc, Tribune]

–For those wanting to catch a glimpse of Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and their new crew before the Hawks travel to South Florida on November 2, tonight is your chance.  Campbell skated just over 30 minutes and had the primary assist on both Panthers’ goals in a 2-0 win on Long Island in Florida’s only game so far.  Jose Theodore was in net for the shutout.

The Panthers will make their only national television appearance of the 2011-12 season, and just their third in four years tonight on VERSUS when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

–For those who missed it, I uploaded Saturday night’s Committed Indian column here.

–No podcast this week.  Check out HockeeNight’s latest from Sunday night.

–Al Cimaglia is now writing at MyFoxChicago.com.  Al  has a look at the season’s first weekend here as well as his outlook on this year’s initial roster from Friday here.

–Congratulations in order to Sun-Times Blackhawks beat reporter Adam Jahns and his wife on the birth of their son Colin Lawrence.

Rockford won both of its games this past weekend to start 2-0 on the campaign.

Kyle Beach potted the game-winner on Sunday at Peoria in a 5-3 win over the Rivermen.  Rob Klinkhammer sealed the game on an empty-netter with 45 seconds to go.  Beach is off to a good start, posting a goal both Saturday and Sunday.

Alec Richards was in net both games (more on that and Alexander Salak below).  Richards was reportedly very good stopping 28 shots in a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.  Newcomer Brandon Segal picked up the winner in that game with under three minutes left in regulation.

Richards again stopped 35 of 38 shots on nineteen hours rest in the win in Peoria on Sunday.

Chris DiDomenico crashed the net to pick up his first career AHL goal in Saturday’s win against the Griffins.

Jeremy Morin (still taking it easy recovering from his Jan 15 concussion) and David Toews were scratches in both games.  Rob Flick sat out on Sunday so Ben Youds could make his professional debut as the IceHogs went with seven blue liners.

With the two wins, the IceHogs have started 2-0-0-0 for the first time in their 5-year AHL existence.  And with the victory at home Saturday, Rockford set an AHL record for most consecutive home victories (7) dating back to a March 19th win over Peoria.

Last night on Rockford radio WNTA, head coach Ted Dent addressed playing Alec Richards both nights of opening weekend’s back-to-back saying he was giving Alexander Salak a mental break after his assignment to the AHL as well as the impending birth of his first child.  Dent gave a positive spin on Salak’s disappointment on getting sent back to the AHL after a big year in Sweden.   That’s all fine, but he’d better get over that quickly and channel that into saves and wins in an IceHogs uniform or he might never be an NHL goalie.  It’s not like he played well enough in preseason to take the decision out of Stan Bowman’s hands.

Forward Brandon Segal was also a guest.  Despite being a native of the Vancouver region, Segal talked of loathing being in Vancouver and dealing with Canucks fans last spring.  That should make get him into fan favor at least to a degree.  IceHogs play their next two games about an hour outside of Vancouver this weekend in Abbotsford.  Segal (Sea-gul)said he’ll have lots of friends and family at those games.  He’s currently the IceHogs’ leading goal scorer with three.  Kyle Beach and Rob Klinkhammer each have two through the IceHogs’ initial two outings of the season.

Former IceHog grinder/tough guy Kyle Hagel was a scratch Sunday in his first chance to face his former mates as a member of the Peoria Rivermen.  He played the night before , also on home ice in Peoria, in a 4-1 loss to Milwaukee.  Two-time and former IceHog winger, Derek Nesbitt was also a scratch.  Peoria went with seven defenseman in the game, replacing Hagel and Nesbitt in the lineup with right winger Tyler Shattock and defenseman Cade Fairchild, who was making his professional debut.  Fairchild is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he was a teammate of Nick Leddy for one season and skated with another Hawks’ blue line prospect, Justin Holl during the 2010-11 season.

–Pittsburgh’s ‘Hulk Hogan Guy’ cannot wait to flip off Dan Carcillo when the Hawks visit Consol Energy Center on December 20th.

–Story about the night Bobby Hull, as member of the Winnipeg Jets during the 1979-80 season, Hull’s last, was scratched for a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast versus the Montreal Canadiens. [Montreal Gazette]

–The FifthFeather is back up and running.

–Stolen Blackhawks jersey-clad goose reunited with owners [Arlington Heights]

Friday October 21st Denis Savard will hold a charity casino event at Lake Forest Sportscars in Lake Bluff.  Tickets to the Monte Carlo Charity Gala event cost $150.  Martin Lapointe will be on hand as one of the celebrities.  [Lake Forester]

For all you twitters, James Wisniewski is now on Twitter.

LA Kings’ center Mike Richards says he considers Chris Pronger a friend.  Yet, Richards himself doesn’t do much to discount rumors of discord between Richards and Pronger and the speculation Pronger may have had something to do with Richards being dealt to LA.

–Blackhawks Birthdays on Monday

Jeff Larmer turned 49 on Monday.   Steve’s younger brother (Steve turned 50 in June) played 45 games in all as a Blackhawk in the mid eighties, scoring 9 goals and 13 assists.

Rostislav Olesz celebrated birthday number 26 on Monday.

And former Blackhawks center Jeff Shantz turned 38.


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  8 Responses to “Crawford’s groin, Salak’s mental break, IceHogs open 2-0, notes on Beach, Klink, DiDom, Segal and Campbell’s Panthers”

  1. Beach and the Hog looked pretty good this weekend. There were at least three or four times where Beach could have dropped the gloves. He was no angel out there, but eliminated the dumb penalties at least in the first two games.

    Another breakaway for Klink on the power play…no goal. Still had a nice pair of games.

    • I meant penalty kill, of course.

    • Since we got glimpses of him at the end of his two junior seasons back in 09 and ’10, we knew it would be a process with Beach. He’s still only 21. Its discouraging to not see marked progress, but like you note Jon, you have to watch for the little things with him first and foremost. That’s where we’ll know if he’s coming around. He can score 35 this season, but if the other aspects of his game don’t move forward or, in certain cases, materialize, he’s not Blackhawk material. Not these Blackhawks anyway. Still, I imagine it does wonders for his confidence to be on the board with two goals after one weekend.

      In all, nice start for the IceHogs. Now four in a row on the road. We’ll quickly learn what this year’s group is made of.

  2. Chris,

    Enjoyed your piece in the Indian – even detected a flash of optimism in the last few paragraphs. A pretty frank look at our offseason trades – hopefully they produce results a notch above your expectations.

    Hopefully the Hogs keep rolling.Thanks for the update on Salak – that had me confused. I think he outplayed Emery, but thought playing time would be better than riding the pine. And then richards goes and throws a wrench into that scenario. expect to see me at a game or two in the Big R this season.

    How close is Morin to joining the action?

    Great piece on the Hulk Hogan character – and I most certainly intend to watch blackhawk south tonight. Your not a Campbell fan by any chance, are you?

    • Thanks Rich. The main point I was making in Saturday’s column is that the new acquisitions won’t be a significant help. And that won’t matter much in the end. If the Hawks are to finish higher in the standings and play later into the spring in 2012, it won’t be because of what line Carcillo skates on, or who gets the most minutes at the #6 defenseman spot or how many times Jamal Mayers stands up for his smaller and shier teammates. This season’s success or fail will depend on the big boys stepping up, carrying the load and playing up to their potential this season.

      For me, there’s too many guys on this team you have no idea what you can count on from night to night. Stalberg to Frolik to Olesz, Lepisto, Bickell and even to Hjalmarsson. The one saving grace is they have a deeper bench this season and cap flexibility to hold those individuals accountable to their minutes. I continue to like Montador and think he’s the guy who will be the biggest factor of all the free agency signings. But that contract puts unfair expectations on him. I keep seeing and hearing people pin him as the #4 guy and placing those kinds of expectations on him. I don’t know who’d I’d blame for that? Maybe the media for not knowing the whole league or what Montador was all about. But when I talked about him last year and what we’ve said about him all summer to this point is he’s a third pair guy who can do a lot of things, but he’s not particularly great at anything. He’s a hard-working, tough player, but he’s also not big and won’t maul anyone. So I don’t know what more people can demand of the guy? Its been a rocky start. But its a few preseason games and one weekend of real ones. He’s not a real concern at this point.

      I don’t think anyone has any idea about Morin. Maybe we’ll know more that I can pass along next week.

  3. Great article Chris.

    I’m glad to see Beach off to a good start. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big proponent of Beach and his potential value to the ‘Hawks. I really hope he continues this strong play and starts to bring some of his detractors over to his side. I think once he finds that fine line between agitation and smart, responsible hockey, he could be a very valuable asset.

    I wanted to ask: what is your position on Klinkhammer? Do you think he has a future with the ‘Hawks or do you think he is he a career minor leaguer? From my perspective I could see him being a replacement for someone like Mayers as a long-term fourth line solution. He plays an energy-type game and it appears that he has some offensive ability. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him from everyone I’ve talked to and I was just curious to get your position.

    • I think Klinkhammer can be a fourth liner in the NHL somewhere. The only thing is, up until this point he’s shown that he doesn’t have NHL hands. His game is actually suited more for a third-line checking role, but he absolutely doesn’t have the hands (at this point) to play their at the next level. But he works tremendously hard and as long as he keeps that up, and keeps putting up points in Rockford, he’ll get a chance to come up again.

      As I spoke about with Sam and a few other times on the podcast, its crucial this season if the Hawks have to dip into the AHL roster for help here and there, or for any prolonged amount of time, that the young guys coming up be able to skate good, strong minutes and contribute. Klink is one of those guys who can come up and fill a role. But he has to be able to give you more than he did in his brief appearance last year. He’s not a fighter, so the Mayers comparison, probably doesn’t fit exactly. But, you’re right. That’s a place I could see Klinkhammer after seeing reasonable gains in the AHL this year. He’s a huge player for the IceHogs this season as well.

      • The thing with Klinkhammer, in Rockford at least, is that he always seems to be around the action. We all look at the failed breakaways last year, but his abilities on the PK team and his game in general get him those opportunities.

        He always seems to be able to get a stick in the passing lanes. If he can convert just a portion of those showdowns with opposing goalies, he becomes a very dangerous player.

        Looks like Salak is coming up. Wonder if he’ll start?

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