By Chris Block
[Update 3:00p 2/26/14] On Wednesday afternoon, Viktor Svedberg, via his Twitter account (@Svedberg8) that he is undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery today.
Svedberg wrote, “On my way to shoulder surgery, would like to thank Icehogs, [Blackhawks], fans and my teammates for this season! Hope to see you again next year!”
We’ll know more later this week, but word out of IceHogs’ camp is defenseman Viktor Svedberg could be done for the season.
Svedberg, 22, last played on February 14th in a game against the Chicago Wolves in Rockford. Svedberg appeared to have suffered an upper body injury during the second period of that contest. He finished the game but has not played since.
There is no official confirmation at this point on Svedberg’s exact injury.
This season, the 6’9” first year North American blue liner has appeared in 35 games for the IceHogs, tallying 2 goals and 7 assists to go with a plus-4 even strength plus/minus rating.
When asked for an update on Svedberg’s status this past weekend, Rockford coach Ted Dent said it was “day-to-day, right now.” Since then, the team has received some bad news.
Svedberg has been sidelined due to injury twice this season.
In November, he missed six games with a shoulder injury.
On December 13th, Svedberg’s patella popped out on a collision with an Oklahoma City Barons player during a game in Rockford. Svedberg was lucky that injury ultimately as bad as it could have been and he only missed 11 games.
In the times Svedberg has been out of action, Ted Dent has felt his absence.
“Well, we’ve missed Svedberg, for sure,” Dent said upon getting the 6-9 blue liner back in the lineup in early January.
“After Klas and Clendo, [Svedberg] really solidifies that next pair and when he’s out we’ve really had trouble solidifying that next pair.”
Svedberg originally came to North America this season on an American Hockey League contract with the Rockford IceHogs. Two weeks into the season, the Chicago Blackhawks inked Svedberg to a 2-year, 2-way NHL deal.
When we spoke to Svedberg after his return to the lineup on January 10th, he said he came to Rockford with no guarantees from the Hawks.
“I didn’t count on anything when I came here,” said Svedberg. “I was really, really happy when they offered me an NHL deal.”
And despite the injury troubles, the defenseman is enjoying his new environment.
“It’s more fun here,” joked Svedberg when I asked him what the biggest difference was playing in North America versus Sweden.
“Roles are bigger here. You can be a role player here. In Sweden, the team is almost like a big unit and everyone is almost do everything [the same].”
The IceHogs today have confirmed with us that Svedberg’s status for remainder of the season is questionable and that they hope to know more later this week. Last night on the IceHogs broadcast, play-by-play announcer Mike Peck mentioned Svedberg is likely done for the season.
Last night the IceHogs topped the Iowa Wild for the third consecutive time in Des Moines, this time by a 4-1 score. Joakim Nordstrom got on the scoresheet for the first time in 6 games when he slammed home Rockford’s first goal at the 41 second mark of the game. The goal was Nordstrom’s 15th in the AHL this year.
Jeremy Morin notched his 19th and 20th goals of the season to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games (9g, 8a, +10, 46sog-19.6%).
Brandon Pirri assisted on Morin’s second tally, which extends Pirri’s personal point streak to 7 contests (6g, 4a, +3, 39sog-15.4%). Pirri now is also 4 points from 200 in his AHL career (236 games played).
Rockford is riding a season high 10-game point streak (9-0-0-1). Overall, they’re 8 games above the .500 mark on the season (29-21-4-3). The ‘Hogs sit 3rd in their Midwest division and 6th in the Western Conference.
The IceHogs’ all-time mark for consecutive games earning at least one point is 16 games (11-0-1-4), set during the franchise’s first season in the American Hockey League, 2007-08. That streak ran from November 25 to December 29, 2007. [credit IceHogs’ Mike Peck for that piece of information]
Tuesday’s win in Iowa over the 9th place Wild was a big regulation win for Rockford as it separated the divisional foes by 11 points in the standings. Iowa does hold 4 games in hand on the IceHogs but now even winning each of those extra four games would only get the Wild to within three points of Rockford.
Back-to-back contests in Oklahoma City this Friday and Saturday is the next challenge awaiting the IceHogs. The OKC Barons currently rank 11th in points in the West. The Barons have three games in hand on Rockford but also trail the IceHogs by 12 points in the standings.
Rockford has an opportunity to put all but eliminate OKC as a potential threat to an IceHogs playoff spot in the back-to-back this weekend.
When they’re done in Oklahoma, Rockford will return home to face off with the Rochester Americans (7th in the West) next Tuesday night at the BMO. It’s the second of two meetings this season between Rockford and the Americans. Rochester trounced the IceHogs 4-1 back on January 31st at Blue Cross Arena.
Theo Peckham served the first of the 2-game suspension handed down by the AHL for an illegal check to an opponent’s head early during last Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals. The hit went undetected by referee Tim Mayer until seeing a replay later.
Peckham can return to the lineup this Saturday in Oklahoma City.
With Peckham unavailable, and Mike Kostka not clearing waivers on Sunday, the IceHogs skated veteran Wade Brookbank on defense in Iowa last night. Brookbank has played some defense this season but has primarily been used as a left winger in a part-time role in previous seasons. Brookbank had sat out the 12 games prior to last night’s as a healthy scratch.
Because of the AHL’s veteran max rule, and Brad Mills getting back into the lineup, Ted Dent chose to sit alternate captain Brad Winchester last night since the IceHogs have just six defenseman available right now (including Brookbank) with Peckham on suspension.
–Last night’s IceHogs’ lines:
Pierre-Marc Bouchard / Brandon Pirri / Jeremy Morin
Brandon Mashinter / Joakim Nordstrom / Garret Ross
Terry Broadhurst / Alex Broadhurst / Mark McNeill
Brad Mills / Drew LeBlanc / Phillip Danault
Klas Dahlbeck / Zach Miskovic
Brett Skinner / Adam Clendening
Wade Brookbank / Jared Nightingale