By Chris Block
A few news items here coming out of Tuesday’s Rockford IceHogs weekly media day huddles.
Alex Broadhurst Targeting Return
Right now, Alex Broadhurst is aiming for March 21st or 22nd as his return from the broken left arm he suffered on Black Wednesday evening back in November. Broadhurst suffered the break to the bone just above his left elbow on a hit from Iowa Wild forward Curt Gogol.
Broadhurst, who turned 22 on March 7th, had a forgettable start to this 2014-15 season. He was healthy scratched 5 times in 20 games and when he did dress, Broadhurst skated a lot of fourth line minutes. In 15 games, the center has 0 goals and 2 assists.
While an injury like that is never welcome, there is some good that came out of it.
Broadhurst on Tuesday said that he’s now in the best physical condition of his life as he’s had nothing to do for the past two months but workout and train for his return. The time away could be good for him in another sense in that his auspicious beginning to the season can be long forgotten now.
If Broadhurst can step back into Rockford’s lineup and regain his rookie season form, the IceHogs could be getting a much-needed boost offensively for the stretch run into the postseason.
Last year Broadhurst played in 75 games, notching 16 goals and 29 assists for the IceHogs.
TREVOR VAN RIEMSDYK NOW PLANNED FOR THIS WEEKEND
Ted Dent told ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers on Monday that Trevor van Riemsdyk is tentatively scheduled to play in his first game as a Rockford IceHog this coming Saturday when the team visits Grand Rapids.
At Rockford’s weekly media day scrum on Tuesday, Dent reiterated that plan when asked. Dent said TVR could play in one or both IceHogs games this weekend.
“Yeah, I think he’s going to play this weekend,” Dent said on Tuesday.
“We’ll see if its 1 game or 2 games. With the quick turnaround in Chicago on Sunday (3pm game in Rosemont)… we’ll have to see how his body reacts and how he feels.”
Rockford plays Saturday night in Grand Rapids then immediately buses back home for the Sunday afternoon game at Allstate Arena.
My guess here is van Riemsdyk plays Saturday in Grand Rapids and sits out Sunday as a precautionary measure. Keith Seabrook would then get his first look in TVR’s spot on Sunday.
But that’s just my guess going by the apparent plan to skate TVR in Grand Rapids. Those could flip should any of the higher ups want to be on hand to watch TVR’s first game back as anyone traveling with the Hawks on this week’s brief west coast trip will return with the team from San Jose late Saturday night and IceHogs’ games at Allstate Arena are typically well-attended when it comes to Blackhawks hockey operations. After Sunday, Rockford starts a 4-game stint at home on Wednesday (3/18) against the Adirondack Flames, followed by a weekend (Sat-Sun) home set against Adirondack (again) and Texas. The ‘Hogs wrap the home stretch March 25th against Lake Erie. The Blackhawks are on the road during that entire Rockford homestand.
Dent had this to say on Saturday when we asked about TVR’s progress:
“He’s practicing with us,” said Dent on March 7th. “He’s participating in drills. But this time of year you don’t have too many contact drills through the course of the week, and battle drills. Because you wean that off as the year goes on.
“We’re just trying to make sure he’s ready to go. And he’s a hundred percent to give him the best opportunity to have success.”
Joel Quenneville raised some eyebrows last week when he told the Chicago media the van Riemsdyk was scheduled to play this past weekend for the IceHogs. As best I could gather, that was never the case.
Quenneville, as quoted in the above linked Powers’ story, indicated the Hawks are keeping an eye on van Riemsdyk for a possible return to the NHL lineup this season.
“We’ll see how he’s playing,” Quenneville stated on Sunday. “(TVR) surprised us at the start of the season. We’ll leave that option open.”
Keith Seabrook Set to Make His IceHogs Debut
On Tuesday, Dent also stated that Keith Seabrook “will play” in “a game or two” this weekend.
Rockford traded for Seabrook’s AHL contract last week, sending “future considerations” to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in return. This is an AHL deal only. Seabrook does not have an NHL contract and thus is not official property of the Blackhawks.
Seabrook, 27, was originally a 2nd round draft choice of the Washington Capitals in 2006. His rights were traded to Calgary (also for “future considerations”) in July of 2009. He spent two seasons in the Calgary system playing for the Abbotsford Heat. He went on to also play for the Manitoba Moose, San Antonio Rampage and in the ECHL for the Cincinnati Cyclones. In 2012-13 he played a half season in Brunico for the Italian professional league. He retired at that season’s halfway point, moving back to Vancouver to work in a jewelry shop.
The Delta, B.C. native did not play professional hockey in 2013-14. He chose to come out of retirement this past summer, signing an AHL contract with Bridgeport. Seabrook spent the entire season to this point skating for the Stockton Thunder, which is Bridgeport’s ECHL affiliate. There, Seabrook posted 7 goals and 20 assists in 51 games on Stockton’s blue line. Former IceHogs’ netminder, Kent Simpson has spent a good chunk of his season in Stockton.
Seabrook is smaller than his older brother, standing at 6’0”, and last played a game in the AHL on April 27, 2012. That was at Allstate Arena in Rosemont while playing for the San Antonio Rampage against the Chicago Wolves in the 2012 AHL playoffs. Seabrook had 1 assist and was a minus-2 over four games he played in that series.
SVEDBERG FARTHER OFF
Six-foot nine-inch defenseman Viktor Svedberg is currently out with a foot or ankle injury suffered at the end of January. It seems as though Svedberg’s time line for a return is a little further down the road than Broadhurst’s.
“He had a similar injury to [Mark McNeill],” Dent said when we spoke to him following the IceHogs 3-2 overtime loss to Grand Rapids on Saturday.
“It’s one of those things where it’s painful at times to put pressure on it and skate. He’s progressing and he’s another defenseman we can use, for sure.”
ICEHOGS POWER PLAY
Rockford has 34 power play goals in 58 games played.
The startling aspect of that when you look deeper into the numbers is how inept the IceHogs power play is on home ice, especially as compared to its road efficiency.
At home, Rockford’s power play is running at 12.1% efficiency rate (11-91).
On the road, IceHogs’ power play is running at 20.4%, which is 23 for 113.
One would think the discrepancy in man-advantages will eventually catch up to Rockford.
The IceHogs stand at minus-31 when it comes to power play differential. At home they’ve been short-handed 12 more times than their opponents. On the road, they’ve given up 19 more power plays than they’ve had themselves.
Rockford’s power play point leader is Joakim Nordstrom (5g 5a) despite Nordstrom only playing in 23 AHL games this year. Teuvo Teravainen (2g 8a) also has 10 points for the IceHogs’ power play. Peter Regin and T.J. Brennan both have posted 9 power play points to this point of the season. Nordstrom’s 5 power play goals also leads the team. Mark McNeill and Ville Pokka each have 4. Teravainen’s 8 power play assists is the team leader. T.J. Brennan (7), Garret Ross (6) and Peter Regin (6) follow him in the assist category.
As far as the power play goes, in the past 10 games, Mark McNeill has 0 goals and just 1 assist. Ryan Hartman has 0 goals and 4 assists via the power play in his last 10 AHL games played. In the last 10 AHL games Teravainen skated, he had 0 goals, 3 assists on the IceHogs’ power play unit.
T.J. Brennan notched a power play goal in his final game with the IceHogs. In the 10 games prior, Brennan, an offensive specialist, had 0 power play points to his credit.
With the shredding of a few of the more prominent names on the IceHogs defense, Stephen Johns has since been pressed into a more regular power play role. So far this season Johns has 1 power play point, an assist in a game all the way back on October 16th at Adirondack.
Adam Clendening, who struggled to put up the offensive numbers this season that the IceHogs had grown accustomed to, had just 4 power play assists in his 38 games prior to being traded this year. For comparison, in 2013-14 he posted 3 goals, 16 assists for the Rockford power play. Those 19 points led all IceHogs on the power play.
One thing of note, though, regarding that stat. Brian Connelly was re-acquired by the Blackhawks for the last quarter of the 2013-14 season. He had eight points in the 16 games he was dressed (3g 5a). All eight of those points came via the power play. Connelly was a minus-12 is sixteen games. In Connelly’s overall season, he notched 6 goals and 19 assists on the power play combined for Rockford and Iowa over 66 games. So while Connelly could not lead the IceHogs in power play production because he stay was so short, he likely would have had he played a comparable number of games as the others, including Clendening.
And a final note in regards to that 2013-14 teams while we’re on it.
Jeremy Morin had a point-per-game AHL season for the IceHogs (47 in 47) thanks to a roaring January and February. Of Morin’s 24 goals and 23 helpers, just 11 of those points (6g 5a) came on the power play. That helps to show how dominant Morin and his linemates were at even strength, specifically once Morin flipped the switch in January.
ICEHOGS LINES IN 2 GAMES THIS PAST WEEKEND
*3-7-2015 Rockford vs Grand Rapids, Loss 2-3, OTL
Ted Dent’s lines, pairs, scratches & specials Saturday vs Grand Rapids
26-Garret Ross / 18-Phillip Danault / 28-Mark McNeill
53-Brandon Mashinter / 11-Peter Regin / 24-Ryan Hartman
22-Pierre-Cedric Labrie / 12-Dennis Rasmussen / 13-Spencer Abbott
27-Matt Carey / 19-Dane Walters / 16-Cody Bass
2-Kirill Gotovets / 4-Stephen Johns
9-Dillon Fournier / 29-Ville Pokka
15-Kyle Cumiskey / 3-Zach Miskovic
49-Michael Leighton (backup)
Scratches: D-5-Keith Seabrook… C-14-Drew LeBlanc… LW-38-Ryan Schnell…
Injuries: D-6-Trevor van Riemsdyk (knee)… D-8-Viktor Svedberg (lower body)… C-25-Alex Broadhurst (arm)…
Power play I: Ross-Rasmussen-Mashinter w/McNeill & Pokka
Power play II: Abbott-Regin-Hartman w/Fournier & Johns (Cumiskey replaced Fournier in 2nd period)
PK forwards: Danault-McNeill, Rasmussen-Labrie, Hartman-Bass, Abbott-Walters
PK defense: Gotovets-Pokka, Cumiskey-Johns
-Lone change from Friday night’s lineup was Walters taking Drew LeBlanc’s spot at center on the fourth line. Walters has played well in his 8 games since joining the IceHogs.
-Keith Seabrook skated the warmup on Saturday but was a scheduled scratch. He was the lone scratch to skate in the pregame warmup.