Jan 202013

By Jon Fromi

The fun thing about going to a hockey game is that you might get to see that puck bounce in any number of interesting directions. Saturday night at the BMO Center, it was pink ice, pink sweaters, and a charitable atmosphere that resulted in the IceHogs going Charlestown Chiefs on the Grand Rapids Griffins midway through the second period.

In full view of their parents no less.

I think back to the dustup last April 1 in Milwaukee and would have to say that this was probably several times more…er…interactive. Talk about Pink in the Rink…

…oh, yeah. Welcome back to NHL hockey. My name’s Jon Fromi. I help comprise the recap threesome with the Brads (Gardner and Vandenberk), who did such a great job previewing the ‘Hawks in their posts that I found myself with nothing to write when Chris Block asked me to reintroduce myself to everyone.

Fortunately, after taking in a feel-good opening day win by the ‘Hawks, I switched off the TV and headed to Caesars Palace the BMO Center. So I now have a little to write about.

I live in the Rockford area and am an IceHogs season ticket holder. I write recaps here at Puck Chatter/The Third Man In and also am a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, which means I know absolutely nothing about hockey (As per the local blogosphere that I enjoy reading just like the next guy).

So…getting back to the donnybrook…

I’m not one to be chanting “Fight! Fight!” as some folks were at the tail end of what was a fairly clean and uneventful 3-1 Rockford win over Peoria. Maybe those folks were disappointed that we chose not to dance with our rivals to the South? Who knew the boys were saving themselves for Saturday?

Anyone can look up the box score (I’m looking at it right now) and note the penalty minutes doled out and the suspensions that will surely follow this week. What I thought I would share with you are the perspective I had on the opposite side of press row where Chris gets us the lowdown on the IceHogs.

First off, despite Grand Rapids being Detroit’s AHL affiliate, to me the intensification of this rivalry stems from the fact that we play them eight times this year as opposed to four when the Griffins weren’t in our division. Saturday meeting was the seventh this year and the fourth in the last three weeks. Familiarity breeds contempt.

The last two games were blowouts, one for each squad, so when Grand Rapids went up 6-3 you could see the frustration on the Hogs of the pinkish hue. The only question was who was going to get things started.

With Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig up with Chicago, my money was on the newly shorn Rob Flick (Did Flicker get a haircut because his folks were in town?). However, Flick had dropped the gloves in the opening period. That left Wade Brookbank and Kyle Beach, who were both on the ice for the faceoff following Landon Ferraro’s tally.

Leave it to Beacher, who forced the issue with Riley Sheahan. And what a guy to target.

My pal had ( and has been all season) been berating Sheahan with “Tinky Winky” comments ever since the Grand Rapids center was arrested for a DUI while wearing a Teletubbies costume. “Sheahan goal with the assist from Laa-Laa and Po,” was a pretty good quip.

Insert the sound of a toddler saying “Again…Again!” (If you have kids, you’ll understand) and it’s easy to see why Beach kept going at Sheahan.

Meanwhile, Brookbank was swinging away at anyone who wanted a part of him over in the corner of the Griffins’ zone. I never saw Carter Hutton streak across the ice because my eye was on the other two guys. All of a sudden Hutton is laying the fists into Petr Mrazek and all hell breaks loose.

And…out come the video phones! Just in case the house cameras can’t catch all the extra-curricular action – which they couldn’t. This was a lot of action to absorb, what with the goalie fight and new guy Kenndal McArdle (really like his game so far) roaming the ice and Flick leaving the bench and the Griffins chasing down and dog-piling Beach.

Missed in all the action on the ice is a scary moment when Beach (who for some reason had been ejected) collapses in the tunnel and is tended to for several minutes. Apparently Beach was just plum tuckered out from his role in the festivities, but for a few minutes it looked pretty serious.

I lost track of Hutton for several minutes until they kicked him out to thunderous applause from the fans. This helped us all forget that Hutton had given up six goals to Grand Rapids…for the second time this year! In the last ten days, in fact.

Throughout all of the chaos, John Entwhistle-style, was Alec Richards. The backup goalie sat quietly as every other player on both teams (not true, I guess, since the Griffins backup was in the tunnel) skirmished. Hard to blame him, as I’m sure the coaches welded his butt to the bench once they saw that Hutton’s night was over.

This led to the comment from our section, “Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs…and Alec Richards.”

As we wait for the aftermath of Saturday’s dust up, it’s back to the Blackhawks as they continue their abbreviated schedule. I’ll submit my recap and thoughts on the home opener on Tuesday with the Blues and on occasion throughout the season. The NHL is back. Let’s pour a little gravy on the action and dig in!

Jon Fromi

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