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:
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.