Author Archives: Chris Block

IceHogs drop both games in Cleveland to begin season; Spencer Abbott injured

By Chris Block

Rockford dropped both ends of a back-to-back in Cleveland over the weekend to begin the 2016-17 campaign at 0-2-0.

It’s the first time the IceHogs have opened a season 0-2 since 2012-13, when they dropped a back-to-back in Rosemont to start that schedule when the NHL was on lockout. [Our detailed rundown of Friday’s season opening loss and roster are here.]

Jeremy Langlois was Rockford’s lone scorer in the second defeat on Saturday.  Langlois’s tally came short-handed late in the second when the IceHogs were already down 3-0.  The final score was 3-1.

Aaron Palushaj, T.J. Tynan and Nick Moutrey scored for the defending AHL champs, formerly known as the Lake Erie Monsters.  Anton Forsberg started in goal for the Monsters for the second straight night, stopping 26 of 27 ‘Hogs shots.  Brad Thiessen, the Monsters other goalie, missed the set due to the birth of his second child.

Worse news for Rockford comes on the injury front. Read more »

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Rockford open season with 2-1 loss on Banner Unveiling Night in Cleveland

By Chris Block

I awoke Saturday morning, thinking watching the IceHogs 2016-17 season opener in Cleveland from the night before would be a fun way to start my weekend.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rockford was beaten 2-1 on Friday in Cleveland.  This, the banner-raising night for the former Lake Erie Monsters – the team that also eliminated the IceHogs in the opening round of this past spring’s AHL postseason.

Since, Lake Erie has become the Cleveland Monsters – because, apparently these two entities are no longer ashamed to be associated with the other – and former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion, John Madden has taken over as head coach for the franchise, after Jared Bednar left in August to take over for Patrick Roy in Denver.  It’s the first time Madden has been head coach of anything, by the way.  Ex-Blackhawk Steve McCarthy serves as one of Madden’s assistants as well.

Friday’s 2-1 final didn’t accurately portray the distance between these two teams on this night. Read more »

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Labrie suspended for Friday night fighting antics; Info on availability of Blackhawks top 4 Swedish blue line prospects

Labrie_2015May13_IceHogs_ToddReicher_photo_500x407Pierre-Cedric Labrie, IceHogs, photo: Todd Reicher

By Chris Block

Pierre-Cedric Labrie was suspended 1-game by the AHL on Monday, stemming from his actions during a fight in the third period of Friday night’s 5-1 loss at Lake Erie, also Rockford’s 8th consecutive road defeat.

Labrie was assessed a match penalty and game misconduct for his actions during a fight he instigated with Lake Erie forward Josh Anderson.

In the American Hockey League, a match penalty carries an automatic $200.00 fine.

Per Rule 21.1

A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure an opponent in any manner.

In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the President has ruled on the issue.

During the fight, which Labrie instigated, Anderson speared Labrie down to the ice. While wrestling on the ice, with both linesman trying to separating them, Labrie grabbed the helmet off Anderson’s head, proceeding to attempt to strike Anderson in the head repeatedly with his own helmet. Read more »

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Blackhawks prospect status in limbo, accused of Revenge Porn

By Chris Block

Garret Ross was scratched from the Rockford IceHogs lineup this weekend after news spread online of his pending criminal case in DeKalb County.

The Chicago Blackhawks 2012 5th round pick missed IceHogs games Saturday and Sunday after news of the charge surfaced on Twitter and a Chicago sports blog.

Ross, 23, has been accused of one count of Non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, also known as the ‘Revenge Porn’ law.

The law, which only became effective in the State of Illinois on June 1, 2015, is a Class 4 felony, which can carry up to a 1 to 3-year jail sentence.

According to DeKalb County Circuit Court records, the date of Ross’ alleged offense was August 31, 2015.

The news was first broke on Twitter Saturday by Nick Burzych of SportsTownChicago.com. Read more »

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Hinostroza Growth In Rookie Campaign

Hinostroza_IceHogs_2016Mar15_GregHamil_Photo_500x333Vince Hinostroza in action, March 15, 2016 vs Charlotte
Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, by Greg Hamil

“The last month, he’s probably been our best player.”

-Ted Dent, speaking about 1st year pro Vince Hinostroza, after a tough 4-1 loss Friday night to the Chicago Wolves in Rosemont.

It is a compliment Dent has reserved for a select few players this season – Mark McNeill and Tanner Kero have also been bestowed that praise.

This is a season in which the Rockford IceHogs spent most of the initial two-thirds of the season atop the AHL Central Division. Lately, the Blackhawks top minor league affiliate has slumped and fallen back to third place, four points behind now division leading Grand Rapids, who have won 13 consecutive games coming into Sunday’s action.

While the IceHogs as a group may have recently lost some steam, Hinostroza is playing his best hockey yet. Read more »

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IceHogs reclaim 1st place in Milwaukee

By Chris Block

I finally had a chance to watch Rockford’s 6-4 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

Rockford reclaimed the top spot in the AHL Central Division with the victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. The IceHogs are now in Cleveland to face off with the Lake Erie Monsters this Friday and Saturday nights. For the Monsters, Friday and Saturday will mark their second and third games in as many nights as Lake Erie are hosting a rare three home games in three consecutive nights this week.

Marko Dano made his return to the lineup after missing the last 2 and 2/3 games with a head injury. He cleared his final protocol on Tuesday.

It was a weird game.

Rockford dominated the first period, scoring 3 unanswered first period goals. In the end, it was good they did because Milwaukee handled the IceHogs quite favorably for the next 40 minutes. Read more »

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Update on Dano, Injured IceHogs; Hartman Benched in Crunch Time, Bickell in Cruise Control

By Chris Block

UPDATE ON INJURED ‘HOGS

–Marko Dano was injured in a game against Manitoba Moose this past Wednesday when Moose defenseman Julian Melchiori rode Dano hard into the half wall in the Manitoba end. Dano lost his footing a bit as Melchiori finished his check and Dano crashed hard into the dasher boards. He stayed down for a moment then immediately skated off to the locker room and did not return. That was during the first period of Wednesday morning’s 5-2 IceHogs’ loss.

After Saturday’s game, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent updated Dano’s status.

“[Dano]’s getting better,” said Dent. “He’s day-to-day. Hopefully we’ll see him this week.”

Officially, Dano is out with an upper body injury.

The 21-year old Slovakian winger has just 4 goals in 33 games for the IceHogs and has been largely unimpressive since joining the Blackhawks organization.

–Kyle Cumiskey’s status remains a moderate mystery. The veteran blue liner hasn’t played since November 18th. Cumiskey began the season on the injury list and played in just 5 games in November before being sidelined again. Read more »

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Puck Chatter Radio, e.143, Open Season

By Chris Block

It’s the first this season of an undetermined number of episodes of TheThirdManIn.com’s audio exercise, Puck Chatter~Radio.

On this show, recorded Friday September 25th, Al Cimaglia of Sirius/XM’s NHL Radio joins to discuss the latest in the Patrick Kane off season saga, the investigation and Kane’s presence in training camp during the ongoing matter.

We also delve into the Blackhawks roster shakeup, a few of the new faces and more.

Listen here in your browser by hitting the play button below.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or, right-click here to download PuckChatter~Radio, e.143.

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For more training camp previewing, check out our Prospect Watch report leading into camp from the Committed Indian Training Camp Preview issue.

Article available in PDF form here.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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Summer Hockey Ops Changes: Blackhawks increase scouting staff, Hold steady on analytics

By Chris Block

There’s been plenty of change on and off the ice this off season in Chicago.

The Blackhawks have added several new professional and amateur scouts to the Hockey Operations department. There are also some changes in the developmental staff and a few departures of note.

New Goaltending Developmental Coach

When Andrew Allen joined the Buffalo Sabres as their new NHL goaltending coach this summer, it created a coaching vacancy on the Rockford IceHogs’ staff and in the Blackhawks developmental realm.

That hole was filled this week when the organization hired Peter Aubry away from the Lake Superior State Lakers (WCHA) where he coached the Lakers’ defense and helped out with the goaltenders.

Aubry, 38, is a former goaltender who was an assistant on the Lake Superior staff for one season. Prior to that, he was an assistant for Mercyhurst College, his alma mater (1998-02), for three years. Mercyhurst is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Read more »

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Blackhawks hold mini-camp in Sweden this week; Artemi Panarin’s first team workouts

By Chris Block

With just about a month to go before the Blackhawks open NHL training camp in Chicago, players will be accelerating their off season workout regimens in preparation for the season.

Some players who will partake in the rookie tournament in early September will need to be in peak condition sooner.

With that in mind, the Blackhawks, in cooperation with the Djurgarden hockey club in Stockholm, are conducting a conditioning mini-camp this week in Sweden.

It’s an annual summer tradition now for the club, organized by Barry Smith, the Blackhawks Director of Player Development.

Players expected to take part in this week’s mini-camp include: Read more »

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