Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lindbloom’s View: The Incredible Bickell

Bickell emerges as frontrunner for John Druce Award

By Rich Lindbloom

OK, you can breathe now. With seconds remaining on the jobing.com Center’s scoreboard, the Blackhawks managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite outshooting the dogged Coyotes 50-33, the Hawks were quite fortunate to emerge triumphant over a tenacious, disciplined Phoenix squad. Bryan Bickell scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime late Saturday night; or was it early Sunday morning? He’s clearly the front runner for the John Druce Award, named after a role player who scored 14 goals in 15 games for Washington in the 1990 playoffs. Although goals are an obvious mark of a player’s efficacy, they often overshadow the less refined parts of the game. Refined is not generally a word associated with Bickell; he’s more like a working man’s hero. Just prior to his game winner, Brian started throwing his body around like dat Buff-lin guy did a few years ago. (Now that’s hockey.) I believe on one shift he clobbered three different Coyotes, seeming to take a sadistic delight inflicting pain upon his unsuspecting prey. Read more »

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Blackhawks tie series 1-1 with more late night heroics

By Brad Vandenberk

Instead of white t- shirts on the seats of the Jobing.com arena, Game 2 of the western conference quarterfinal saw white pom pom’s riddled throughout the arena.  The Chicago Blackhawks needed a big win to avenge the loss they suffered on Thursday night in overtime.  Martin Hanzal’s tip past Corey Crawford gave the Coyotes and 1-0 lead in the series.  The Hawks were looking to head back to Chicago with a split in the series.  Read more »

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AUDIO: Interview with IceHogs coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

We were fortunate enough on Saturday to sit down with Rockford IceHogs’ head coach Ted Dent for a lengthy season-in-review discussion.

In this twenty-five minute interview, Dent shared his take on the gamut of subjects from coaching, to working in unison with Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks coaching staff to the ups and down season his IceHogs experienced in this 2011-12 season.

Dent also gives his take on the state of Kyle Beach‘s progression, where he thinks Beach could be had it not been for missing four months due to shoulder surgery and if Dent has been surprised at all by the rapid ascension of Andrew Shaw.

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In this conversation, Dent gives his analysis and discusses various topics including….

-Getting opportunity to be a head coach at AHL level

-Relationships with players and the transition from being an assistant to the head coach

-What aspect he looked to change in Rockford

-Dialogue ongoing between Chicago and Rockford

-Communicating with, and leaning on Joel Quenneville for advice. Read more »

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AUDIO Interview with Blackhawks prospect Joe Lavin

By Chris Block

This morning I had an opportunity to chat with Rockford IceHogs first-year defenseman Joe Lavin.

In his first pro season, Lavin has quietly risen into the top tier of upcoming Chicago Blackhawks prospects on the defense.  Lavin turned pro last April after completing his collegiate career as the captain of the University f Notre Dame where he was a regular pair-mate with another Blackhawks’ prospect, Stephen Johns.  The Blackhawks drafted Lavin in the 5th round (126th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

At 23, Lavin is one of the older IceHogs but he also carries himself like a ten-year veteran.  Lavin plays an intelligent game from the blue line and his improved agility and mobility have helped advance his offensive skill set as well at the pro level.

The interview is about ten and a half minutes long following an introduction.

To listen, click the play button or Right-Click Here to Download

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We touched on a variety of topics with Joe Lavin, including…. Read more »

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Blackhawks sign Pete Leblanc to 1-yr deal, IceHogs wrap their season this weekend, tons of news and notes

By Chris Block

On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced they have reached terms on a 1-year contract with center Pete Leblanc.  It will be a two-way (NHL/AHL) agreement.

Leblanc was originally the Blackhawks 7th round selection (186th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  After spending four years at the University of New Hampshire, Leblanc turned pro with the Rockford IceHogs.

The Hamilton, Ontario native has spent the past two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs on AHL contracts as the Blackhawks had elected not to offer Leblanc an NHL contract until now.

In 70 games this season, Leblanc has posted 23 goals and 20 assists for the IceHogs.  Since being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games in early November, Leblanc has scored all 23 of his goals over the most recent 61 contests.

He is currently tied for the team lead in goals scored (23) with Brandon Pirri.  And Leblanc is second on the team in overall points, trailing Pirri by twelve points, with 43.  Leblanc has a plus/minus rating of plus-2.  It was Leblanc’s elevated level of play that caused veteran Brett McLean to slip down the IceHogs depth chart and even to the wing on the fourth line before McLean opted to play out the rest of the season in Switzerland. Read more »

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Toews Returns but Coyotes Win Game 1 in OT 3-2

By Jon Fromi

Jonathan Toews made an impressive return to the lineup Thursday as the Chicago Blackhawks opened their Western Conference Quarterfinal in Phoenix, tallying a goal and assist. Despite Toews and a late surge to the tie the contest, the Hawks succumbed in overtime as the Coyotes bested Chicago 3-2.

The Coyotes tried to establish a physical tone from the opening faceoff, but it was Andrew Shaw who registered a bit hit on Radim Vrbata that sent Phoenix’s leading goal scorer to the dressing room. Shaw had an open look on a rebound on the ensuing trip down the ice, but Coyotes goalie Mike Smith turned it away.

Toews got the scoring started with his play in the fourth minute. Gaining control of the puck behind the Phoenix net, the captain attempted to center to Patrick Kane. Toews wound up gathering in the failed connection and shoveled a backhand that escaped the grasp of Smith. At the 4:04 mark, the Blackhawks led 1-0. Read more »

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Lindbloom’s View: From Parts Unknown

The Angel of Playoff Death

By Rich Lindbloom

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every first born-both men and animals-and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” – Exodus12: 12-13

And you thought Pharaoh Shanahan’s rulings were severe!

The Jewish Feast of Passover, so inextricably bound with Christianity, is one of the most incredible events I’ve ever pondered. The Readers Digest version is God rescues the descendants of Jacob from the intense persecution they were facing in Egypt. He accomplished this through an obedient servant, (a servant who initially tried to convince God he had the wrong man for the job), and a series of ten plagues. The last plague was the death of the first born throughout Egypt, unless the door posts were covered by the blood of a one year old male lamb, without defect. One of the most unique aspects of the Bible is it’s almost completely devoid of humor-although I would say that God’s command of finding a male without blemish comes about as close to humor as you can get. Read more »

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Blackhawks-Coyotes Conference Quarterfinal Schedule

All times listed are Eastern.  Note the 8pm central time start for Game 3 at the United Center.
-For folks locally in the greater Chicagoland area, all games will be televised on Comcast SportsNet-Chicago.
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Blackhawks blow two-goal 3rd period lead in Detroit, win 3-2 in a shootout, finish 6th in West, await Pacific winner

By Brad Gardner

The sixth and final meeting of the season between the Blackhawks and Red Wings went down to a shootout, where Patrick Kane scored the deciding goal to give the visiting ‘Hawks a 3-2 victory. Corey Crawford played a strong game, despite giving up a pair of third-period goals, and did not allow a goal in the shootout to register his 30th win of the season.

Detroit’s third period comeback secured one point in the standings, thereby sealing up either the fourth or fifth seed of the Western Conference and a first round match-up against Nashville.

Despite the two points, Chicago settled into the sixth spot with 101 points (45-26-11 record) on the season. They will open the playoffs on the road against the winner of the Pacific Division.

The game played much like the rest of the season series. Each game between the two Central Division rivals has been decided by one goal. It was the fourth time in six games that the final score was 3-2 and the fourth time Chicago came out victorious. The ‘Hawks ended up taking 10 of a possible 12 points out of the season series against the Wings with a 4-0-2 record. Read more »

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IceHogs playoff hopes take serious hit at Lake Erie

By Chris Block

The Rockford IceHogs are running out of bodies and now games in their wild postseason bid.

On Friday they travelled to Cleveland, Ohio for a two-game set with the Lake Erie Monsters.  Rockford entered the opener on Friday night trailing the 10th-place Monsters by two points in the Western conference with a game in hand on Lake Erie.

By any means, this weekend presented four points the IceHogs needed.  And anything less than three would put Rockford’s postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

With five games remaining and four teams to leapfrog in order to qualify for postseason, this weekend represented an opportunity to gain ground or jump past Lake Erie in the standings all together.

But after a 2-1 loss at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night, the IceHogs at best now can leave Cleveland this weekend in the exact predicament they arrived in.

And if they don’t beat Lake Erie in regulation on Saturday, they’ll bus home having lost ground in spite of getting two of a possible four points.

Rockford’s pursuit of a playoff spot has approached storybook proportions of late behind timely goal scoring, team defense, key contributions from ECHL signings, some luck and Carter Hutton. 

The IceHogs have gone 20-8-1-3 since Jan 16th when they were a season-worst 7 games below the .500 mark.

However, the IceHogs still managed to stumble in recent weeks even in earning 11 of a possible 12 points in their six games coming into Friday night’s contest.  Read more »

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