12 Blackhawks in Sweden this week for mini-camp

Photo credit: www.sskoveralltalltid.se

By Chris Block

For the second consecutive year, the Blackhawks have teamed up with a European league team for a friendly preseason tune-up.

Twelve Blackhawks players and prospects are in the town of Södertälje, Sweden this week taking part in a week-long mini conditioning camp.

These Blackhawks are guests of the Södertälje Sportklubb (SSK), a team in the Allsvenskan league, a level below the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien), as the Södertälje team makes its final preparations to begin its 2012-13 regular season.

List of Blackhawks players and prospects in Sweden for this week’s workouts:

Nick Leddy
Marcus Kruger
Dylan Olsen
Jimmy Hayes
Kevin Hayes
Ben Smith
Brandon Pirri
Jeremy Morin
Brandon Saad
Adam Clendening
Klas Dahlbeck

Brandon Bollig will join the group on Wednesday after clearing up a passport issue.

With the exception of Kevin Hayes, who at this point is still heading to Boston College to begin his junior season, all players participating in this week’s camp in Sweden are eligible to play for the Rockford IceHogs this season.  Even Nick Leddy, who is now in the final year of his three-year entry level deal, is eligible to play in Rockford this coming season in the event of an NHL work stoppage.

Chicago Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith is with the group of young  Blackhawks and helping lead the on-ice workouts at the AXA Sports Center, Södertälje’s home rink.

Rockford IceHogs head coach Ted Dent, as well as Kevin Delaney (Blackhawks skating coach) and Mats Hallin (Head European scout) are also coaching the sessions which include both SSK players and other NHL talent participating in the practices.

Among those from other organizations on the ice so far this week include Mikael Samuelsson (Red Wings), Jonathan Ericsson (Red Wings), Carl Hagelin (NY Rangers), Jacob Josefson (Devils)   and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending prospect (also Sweden native) Mark Owuya, who played for the Toronto Marlies last season.

Former NHLer Darius Kasparaitis is also taking part in this week’s sessions.

For more pictures and brief practice session video you can go to this site.

A year ago this week the Blackhawks sent seven players; Niklas Hjalmarsson, Viktor Stalberg, John Scott, Marcus Kruger, Dylan Olsen, Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin to Lugano, Switzerland for a week-long mini-camp with the HC Lugano team of the Swiss-A league.  At that time Barry Smith was the head coach of Lugano, having stepped down from a scouting position with the Blackhawks to take the Lugano job.  After a couple months behind the Lugano bench, a disagreement over player personnel led to Smith quitting his position as coach of HC Lugano.  Smith then rejoined the Blackhawks in November of 2011.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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10 Responses to 12 Blackhawks in Sweden this week for mini-camp

  1. Please follow the guys/reporters on de Swedish blog including my self.

    @forzaMyran
    @Knugen_ssk
    @forzaKlimpen

  2. Chris. Good update. I guess with exception of denault and McNeil, these are the hawks top prospects. I’m a bit surprised lavin did not get an invite as he appears close to being a top pairing ahl guy and supposedly stayed in Chicago to train this summer.

    • I don’t know that Lavin wasn’t asked to go. Although with Leddy going, and Klas Dahlbeck already in Sweden, there’s only going to be room for another couple defensemen in that 12-man group anyhow. Getting Olsen going and under their watch this early is a given. Similar thing with Clendening. They have high hopes for Clendening but he needs work and this gives them an opportunity to get their hands on him early. You don’t want a situation where he struggles early on and you’re faced with a decision of sending him to Toledo. I don’t see it happening, but including him in this week’s mini-camp shows they want to give him an additional boost to seizing this opportunity and not having it look like him leaving BU early was a mistake. It would’ve been nice for Lavin and/or Stanton to go, but politically its easy to understand why Clendening is there. Clendening looks ripped and Bollig is huge for what its worth.

  3. Pingback: 12 Blackhawks in Sweden this week for mini-camp | Puck Chatter ... | Chicago Ticket Hub

  4. Good to hear clendening looks ripped, all these young players should be in fantastic shape, they are professionals and if you cant get your butt to the gym for 90 minutes a day during the summer, than you really are not committed. Most hockey players only skate like twice a week until late august. I realize their bodies need repair. I follow these guys on Twitter and a lot of them seem to golf, boat and do all sorts of fun things which they should. But the guys who work out and keep themselves in shape are the ones who impress me.

  5. Chris as you know it’s looking more and more like there will be a lockout. One of the things that really irks me is seeing a guy like montador, as one of the faces of the players union. Here is a number 6 defenseman making roughly 3 million dollars a year fighting for what ? He is stealing wirtzs money. He is a 700,000 player at best. Yet he wants to make sure players like him get “fair deal”? Please the players are making incredible money the drunken owners can’t control themselves in terms of throwing long term deals and millions upon millions of dollars at these guys and somehow there is labor unrest? Please tell the 8.3 percent of unemployed Americans where the fairness or sympathy lies in any of this

    • Montador was a player who was heavily involved in the NHLPA even before he signed the four-year $11 million deal he got from Chicago. Slightly off topic, but I think its unfortunate that there are fans who see him only for his contract. He did not have a good year. That’s an unavoidable fact. Injuries and then the concussion problems only compounded a poor first season and relative ineffectiveness so far in Chicago. We see with a lot of unrestricted free agents – some guys are in the right place at the right time. Montador could qualify in that sense. He was a player the Blackhawks liked and had tried to acquire in the past. I say its unfortunate his deal overshadows his game because he’s not a bad player. As for what he’s worth – I believe, like in any line of work, you are worth what someone is willing to pay you. Like a lot of guys year after year we watch in the first year of a new, big contract – Montador seemed to be trying too hard to do too much at times. Is he “overpaid” in a sense? I guess you can say that if you must. His deal was greatly frontloaded because the Hawks had a significant need last summer and its a contract that will be easier to move going forward as the Hawks young prospects (Olsen specifically) become permanent fixtures on the Hawks blue line. But its also unfortunate he had the year he did because Montador is just the type of player and character guy fans in Chicago typically love to root for. We’re talking about a guy who got into the league by fighting and playing forward who then turned himself into a respectable NHL defenseman. No question the contract (and as much as that I think it was the fact Bowman made a move to get Montador before July 1 of 2011) increased the expectations. He was never going to be a 3-4 guy on a great team. He’s a versatile guy who can play up when injuries arise but should be able to give you quality minutes from the third pair. We’ll see if that happens again going forward. Quenneville may fall in love with Sheldon Brookbank. But the truth is, in my opinion, Brookbank isn’t any better than Dylan Olsen was last season and the only attributes he brings is a willingness (a) clear a crease and (b) get punched in the face. But he’s also slow and makes a lot of bad reads. I don’t see him fitting in, but we’ll see. Montador is a better player in nearly every aspect he can control. The only area Brookbank has a lead on Montador is size, and even that is barely enough to be considered significant.

      I believe if you make a deal you should honor your deal. The players have never had power over any owner to make any deal. The owners gave out those contracts and now, again, they don’t want to honor those. They got away with it in 2005 when the players gave back 24% of their existing contracts. It made some sense to give up so much in 2005 when the league’s future appeared to be somewhat unstable. Now revenues are growing every year. I’m sure fans would have fits if players just started holding out and asking for their contracts to be torn apart and given huge raises. I have little sympathy for owners. I highly doubt we’ll see these owners who are pushing for another 24% rollback turning around and issuing a partial refund to their paying customers.

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