By Chris Block
Each week from now until the end of the season we will bring you a first-hand account of the latest news, developments and analysis of this season’s Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Conflict of Interests?
“Well, we’re 1-3. So, that’s my assessment.”
That was IceHogs coach Ted Dent this past Saturday night after a 4-2 loss at home when asked to give his assessment of Jimmy Hayes’ performance in the four games after the decision was made to move Hayes from his regular spot at right wing, over to the center ice position.
Eight games into the season, the edict came down from Chicago Blackhawks management that they wanted to see how Hayes would do at center.
Little forward thinking went into this decision either, apparently. Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith was quickly dispatched to Rockford to go over film and one-on-one instruction over three days with Hayes, who admittedly hadn’t played the center position since he was a kid.
Not during training camp. Not over the summer when Hayes was a part of a group of 12 top Blackhawks prospects who traveled to Sweden for a five-day August mini-camp. No, during the last week of October was when the IceHogs coach received word he was to play Hayes at center until further notice.
“No, I haven’t played there in a long time,” Jimmy Hayes said last week.