By Chris Block
I continue to receive questions regarding Kyle Beach’s status. There is no real update other than he’s out indefinitely with a severe right shoulder injury. His shoulder was dislocated during a fight with Peoria’s Stefan Della Rovere in Peoria back on October 28.
Beach’s right arm is currently in a harness. He’s been telling people he’ll be back before the end of the regular season. I don’t know for sure if that’s accurate, but there is hope he’ll return sometime in March.
Season on the brink
With the loss to Toronto this past Wednesday night, the Rockford IceHogs home record drops to a dismal 6-11-0-0. They are 3-2-0-0 over their most recent five home games. One of those wins came via the shootout.
I suppose its good news that 9 of Rockford’s next 10 games are on the road. Last season’s IceHogs turned their misfortunes around and finished strong (17-5-1-1) beginning with an early March 7-game road trip.
That current stretch of 9 of 10 begins Monday night in Milwaukee where the IceHogs will face off with third-best team percentage wise in the Western Conference. The Admirals are currently second in the division behind Charlotte, but they’ve also played five fewer games than the Checkers and trail Charlotte by just two points in the standings.
Rockford is now 11-15-1-2 overall.
% Points Earned-wise, the IceHogs are the 2nd-worst team in the AHL (.431).
By Goal Differential, Rockford (-16) ranks 25th out of 30 AHL teams.
They are 6th in Goals Scored per game (3.1)
However, the IceHogs are dead-last in Goals Allowed per game (3.7). The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in the other conference and have no like opponents with the Hogs, are the next-worst, allowing 3.4 goals per contest.
The only team in the AHL with a worse record is the Binghamton Senators (11-19-1-1, .375), which is Rob Klinkhammer’s new home.
Speaking of the Klink, he’s off to a modest start in Binghamton, scoring 3 goals and 2 assists in his first 10 games there.
Just looking at his totals individually with each team (18gp, 2g, 4a), Klinkhammer would be on a 23-goal pace (76gms) with the Sens, while he was on an 8-goal pace with the IceHogs. Combining his stats, he’s on pace to score 14 goals.
Hot and Not
Since being scratched in three-straight games in mid-November, Pete Leblanc has 15 points in his last 16 contests. He has 9 goals over that time. 3 have come on the power play.
Take a look at Leblanc’s recent production (16gp, 9g, 6a, -4, 36sog)
Compared to Rostislav Olesz’s over the same time (15gp, 6g, 8a, E, 48sog)
Before being recalled, Brandon Pirri had 3 goals and 6 helpers in his last five games. He was also a +4 with 16 shots. The three goals came in the last two.
Jimmy Hayes (since 11/11/11) has 2 goals, 8 assists in his last 18 games. He’s a minus-2 with 40 shots on goal during that stretch. That’s in third line duty, skating consistently with center Peter Leblanc and now winger Rusty Olesz.
Olesz has just two points (2a) in his past four games. Both coming in a 4-2 win over Milwaukee on December 17th.
Brandon Segal has 1 goal in his last 11 games played (-11).
Brett McLean has 2 goals and 4 assists over his last 17gp (-11). Five of McLean’s seven goals game during a five-game span (10/28 – 11/11). McLean won’t be with the team this week as he was loaned to Team Canada for the annual Spengler Cup getting underway Monday in Switzerland.
Jeremy Morin has 1 goal in his last 13 IceHogs contests. He does however have 9 helpers in those thirteen games to go with 41 shots on net.
Clear team MVP frontrunner
When Brandon Pirri is held off the scoresheet, Rockford is 3-7-0-0
In those seven losses, the IceHogs scored a total of 6 goals and were shutout twice.
When Pirri scores at least one goal, the team is 4-4-1-0.
In the five losses when he scores, the team was outdone a total of 25-17.
–With both Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri up with the Blackhawks, this is what the IceHogs lineup and combinations looked like on Wednesday night versus Toronto, a 4-1 loss, though two of those goals against were empty-netters:
Rostislav Olesz – Pete Leblanc – Jimmy Hayes
Brandon Bollig – Ben Smith – Brandon Segal
David Gilbert – Brett McLean – Andrew Shaw
Rob Flick – Byron Froese – Philippe Paradis
Ryan Stanton – Brian Connelly
Dylan Olsen – Brian Fahey
Joe Lavin – Shawn Lalonde
Scratches: D-Ben Youds (healthy).. Kyle Beach (right shoulder)… Alexander Salak (left leg)…
Both Morin and Pirri were sent back to Rockford on Thursday. With both Dan Carcillo (head) and Marcus Kruger (head) nearing returns to the Blackhawks’ lineup, it was not known whether or not Morin or Pirri would be recalled before the Blackhawks host the Blue Jackets on Monday night.
–Philippe Paradis was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee collision with Toronto center Matt Caruana on Wednesday night. Paradis was at the end of a long-shift killing off a Rostislav Olesz penalty. Paradis had just gained Toronto’s blue line and immediately cut to the middle of the ice. The hard backchecking Caruana stuck his knee and both players right knees collided. Caruana appeared to get the worst of it though. He was assessed a two minute minor which the Hogs did not capitalize on with the game tied 1-1. Twenty-seven seconds after Caruana’s penalty expired Marcel Mueller broke the tie and then Toronto added two empty-netters as Rockford pulled goaltender Carter Hutton for a 6 on 4 advantage with Jerry D’Amigo in the box for delay of game. That strategy didn’t work as the Hogs lost possession almost immediately and Mike Zigomanis made it 3-1. Then Ryan Hamilton potted another into the free net with 19 seconds left in the game. Paradis is not expected to miss any time.
IceHogs’ consecutive games without a goal: Ryan Stanton (39), Philippe Paradis (23), Brian Fahey (11), Ben Youds (9), Chris DiDomenico (8), Rob Flick (8), David Gilbert (8), Jimmy Hayes (7), Byron Froese (6), Brett McLean (6), Kyle Beach (5), Shawn Lalonde (5), Rostislav Olesz (4), Dylan Olsen (4), Joe Lavin (3), Jeremy Morin (3), Brandon Segal (3), Andrew Shaw (3), Brian Connelly (2), Brandon Bollig (1), Peter Leblanc (1), Brandon Pirri (0), Ben Smith (0)…
IceHogs’ consecutive games without an assist: Dylan Olsen (34), Brandon Bollig (12), David Gilbert (12), Andrew Shaw (11), Ryan Stanton (11), Ben Youds (7), Chris DiDomenico (5), Brian Fahey (4), Rob Flick (4), Jimmy Hayes (4), Shawn Lalonde (3), Joe Lavin (2), Brandon Segal (2), Ben Smith (2), Kyle Beach (1), Brian Connelly (1), Byron Froese (1), Rostislav Olesz (1), Philippe Paradis (1), Peter Leblanc (0), Brett McLean (0), Jeremy Morin (0), Brandon Pirri (0)…
–Kyle Beach’s old buddy Akim Aliu had his much maligned young career journey to Europe this month. Aliu had been bouncing back and forth between Winnipeg affiliates St. John’s (AHL) and the Loveland, Colorado Eagles (ECHL), before the Jets loaned Aliu to the Austrian-league’s Salzburg Red Bulls. In 10 games in the ECHL this season, Aliu has 2 goals and 4 assists.
Salzburg is the same team Marty Turco recently signed with on a part-time contract to partake in an international European Trophy tournament the Salzburg franchise was hosting, called the Red Bulls Salute.
Aliu and Marty Turco were only there for a 3-day conclusion of the annual interleague tournament. Chicago Robbie Earl is a full-timer on the Red Bulls, as is former Chicago Wolves forward Ramzi Abid.
Salzburg wound up winning the tournament, defeating Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League in the final on December 18th. Turco held Jokerit to 2 goals in the championship game. Danny Bois, another former Blackhawks’ property and Rockford IceHog, scored twice in that final and Akim Aliu posted the game-winning goal to lead Salzburg to a triumphant 3-2 tournament deciding victory. That was the lone goal Aliu scored in the three games.
Turco was in net for all three Salzburg victories. He posted a 1.92 goals against and .947 save percentage. Alexander Ruuttu (son of former Blackhawk Christian Ruuttu, born in Chicago and drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2nd round in 2011) scored for Jokerit against Turco in the final. That goal put Jokerit up 2-0 as they’d also scored on Turco ten seconds into the game. Ilari Filppula (Valtteri’s older brother who was a top player in Grand Rapids a season ago) set up the first Jokerit tally.
Filppula led the tournament in scoring (3g, 12a, 11gp).
Mathis Olimb (Frolunda Indians, Swedish Elite League) was 5th in scoring (3g, 8a, 10gp).
Including tournament play, Olimb already has more goals this season (11g, 41gp) than he did for the IceHogs (10g, 60gp) in 2010-11.