You have to focus on what’s right in front of you and I think at that moment … I was focused on winning two points against Grand Rapids and fortunately that night we did. –Ben Smith
With the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining dispute having been settled and NHL training camps set to commence in less than three days, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith took to the BMO Harris Bank Center ice in Rockford on January 11th to face off with the IceHogs division-rival, and Detroit Red Wings farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
At this time Smith was the IceHogs’ leader in goals scored, game-winning goals, a member of both the first-team power play and penalty killing units and among the top three forwards in ice time on a nightly basis.
And on a team up to that point which couldn’t help itself but take careless or undisciplined minor penalty after minor penalty, Smith had just 4 penalty minutes on the season and had not stepped foot in the penalty box since mid October. That’s quite the accomplishment for the gritty and tenacious two-way forward Ben Smith is. Read more »
PuckChatter~Radio returned from a 5-week hiatus Monday night simply to proclaim that the Chicago Blackhawks are, in fact, really, really good. Yep, that’s about it. But hey, we’re rusty.
Well, we did too discuss Duncan Keith and the level he’s been playing at thus far. We also took a look at Brandon Saad’s game and what lineup change could benefit the team right now.
Also, we reviewed some of our 5 day Las Vegas visit over Super Bowl Weekend (if you’re hungry for more audio, I did two hours with Radio Exposed last week talking Vegas, the Super Bowl and many other things here) ; our experience at the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers 18 & Over Topless Hockey night game; some Rockford IceHogs news and notes; Adam Clendening, Philippe Paradis and Dylan Olsen sound clips; Valentine’s Day advice for the guys and a tribute to a friend. The show is also interrupted and my co-host Superstar has to drop off for the remainder when a woman drove into the tree in his front yard driving 40 miles an hour. True story. Apparently the woman is okay all things considered.
Click the player below to listen to this show now…..
At this point our next show is scheduled for Wednesday February 20th at 8pm central. Tonight was also our first show using newly purchased recording equipment. It seems to have worked out okay aside from a glitch you won’t notice right as we went live.
I know it’s been a while since we’ve done a podcast of our own, so for anyone interested in a mostly un-hockey show, I was the guest last night on a brand-new edition of Radio Exposed.
Again, my apologies for such a long PuckChatter~Radio drought. There are some reasons for that and those are discussed on this Radio Exposed show. For now, the timing just worked out perfectly when Tinky at Radio Exposed asked me to guest host last night. And, it gave me a chance to test-run my new microphone!
-Recaping my weekend in Vegas
-Other Vegas shenanigans
-An upcoming major television appearance
-Pizza found in odd places
-Super Bowl wins, Ray Lewis and the big party~!
-Jim Harbaugh is too whiny
-Burning the midnight, morning, afternoon and then early evening oil
-Airline that lost the luggage – twice
-What’s going on with PuckChatter?
-Brewing beer at home
-Lewd energy drinks
-Sabremetrics for beer
-Seattle man who urinated a lot – on the police
-Underrated hottie of the week
-Dressing like batman, posting it to youtube and what I’ve decided to be for this coming Halloween.
-A British man who yelled something on a plane he probably shouldn’t have
-Ruutu makes a contribution
The American Hockey League All-Star Game was held in Providence, Rhode Island on Monday night.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Adam Clendening, along with Rockford IceHogs team captain Martin St. Pierre were both selected by the league to represent the team from just up the road off Interstate 90.
Both St. Pierre and Clendening were held off the scoresheet in the game. The Western Conference won with some late heroics by Toronto Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton, who completed a hat-trick with 11.2 seconds to go in regulation to give the West a 7-6 victory over the Eastern Conference all-stars.
Clendening, who turned 20 in October, and leads all IceHogs players with 21 assists this season, said he was initially surprised when news of his AHL All-Star nomination came.
“I was actually eating lunch [on January 17th] with a bunch of the guys,” Clendening recounted. Read more »
After allowing 17 goals in their last two losses, 7 coming while the team was short-handed, the Rockford IceHogs held team and organizational meetings all last week focusing on eliminating the mindless and careless minor penalties which have plagued this team all season.
That’s all fine and well, but when it takes until late January to correct an issue that should have been nipped in the bud at least two months ago, losses like the one to the Chicago Wolves on Friday night sting even more.
On Friday, Rockford was narrowly outplayed by the Chicago Wolves, handing the IceHogs a 2-1 defeat in front of a sellout crowd of 6,097 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The loss extends Rockford’s current losing streak to three games, but this loss wasn’t anything like the previous two. Read more »
On Friday, the Rockford IceHogs officially released defenseman Brett Lebda from his second professional try-out contract with the club.
Lebda had been a healthy scratch in 5 of Rockford’s last 8 contests. The Buffalo Grove native and member of the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings had appeared in 27 games for the IceHogs, posting 11 assists to go with a minus-12 plus/minus rating, worst on the team.
The IceHogs would have had to sign Lebda to a standard-player contract by February 17th or release him.
Lebda has never before played overseas but back in October he told us he had interest from a few teams in Europe and he would reconsider those if nothing presented itself after the NHL lockout ended.
MCARDLE SIGNS CONTRACT
Just three games into his PTO, Kenndal McArdle agreed to a contract with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of this season on Wednesday.
The Florida Panthers’ 2005 first round (#20th overall) draft pick has one assist in the three games since joining the IceHogs. He was also involved in the brawl with Grand Rapids last Saturday, getting ejected for a Third Man In violation.
McArdle played 9 games in the NHL last season with Winnipeg. So far he’s taking the spot on Martin St. Pierre’s left wing that was vacated by Brandon Saad. Read more »
The American Hockey League dealt the IceHogs a significant blow on Tuesday for Rockford’s part in this past Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Rockford was issued 11-game suspensions in all, while Grand Rapids will have center Louis-Marc Aubry suspended for 6 games and right wing Triston Grant suspended for 1 game.
Rob Flick received a mandatory 6-game suspension for being the first IceHogs’ player to jump off the bench and get involved in the brawl. Aubry’s suspension matched Flick’s for being identified as the first Grand Rapids player to jump off the Griffins’ bench.
The newest IceHogs player, left winger Kenndal McArdle (who was playing in just his second game as a member of the IceHogs in Saturday’s night’s contest) was suspended 1 game. McArdle was issued a game misconduct on Saturday night for jumping off the bench and being the Third Man In an ongoing fight.
Wade Brookbank was also suspended for one game, as was Kyle Beach, whose actions precipitated the Griffins leaving their bench.
IceHogs head coach Ted Dent was also suspended two games. Dent will serve his suspension this weekend when the IceHogs host the Chicago Wolves on Friday and then the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday night.
The IceHogs have now accumulated 25-games in suspensions over the first 41 games of the season. The list: Andrew Shaw (7), Rob Flick (6), Shawn Lalonde (3), Kyle Beach (2), Ted Dent (2), Dylan Olsen (2), Wade Brookbank (2), Kenndal McArdle (1).
As noted on the site yesterday, Flick served the first game of his six-game suspension when he was held out of Monday’s 6-3 loss to Texas by the league. Flick will be eligible to return on February 8th at Peoria.
On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks traded a 7th round draft pick in 2013 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for 29-year old goaltender Henrik Karlsson.
The Stockholm, Sweden native served as Miikka Kiprusoff’s backup in Calgary during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Over that span, Karlsson appeared in 26 games posting a record of 5-9-8 with a 90.5% save percentage and a 2.79 goals against average. Karlson was 1-4-2 last season in Calgary. His only victory came on the final day of the regular season and he posted a 3.17 GAA and 90.0% save percentage in his nine appearances overall.
The Blackhawks then immediately assigned Karlsson to their AHL affiliate, Rockford IceHogs. The pick used by Chicago general manager Stan Bowman in this deal is one he had previously acquired from Ottawa on December 2, 2011 when the Blackhawks traded forward Rob Klinkhammer (who was struggling mightily in Rockford at the time) to the Senators for a 7th round pick.
The 6 foot 6 inch Henrik Karlsson is expected to be in Rockford this week and suited up for the IceHogs next game on Friday when Rockford plays host to the Chicago Wolves.
We’ll know more soon, but it seems as though there is concern Rockford has an immediate need for a dependable AHL goaltender.
Karlsson joins Carter Hutton, 27, and Alec Richards, 25, on the IceHogs roster. Read more »
There is still a lot more to come from Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins before a sellout crowd of 6,219 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. [Video of the brawl is posted again at the bottom of this post]
230 penalty minutes in all were dealt out in Saturday’s game. 202 of those came as result of the brawl.
Frustrations from an IceHogs perspective had boiled over at the 11:58 mark of the second period after Grand Rapids forward Landon Ferraro scored a power play goal to put the visiting team ahead 6-3.
The IceHogs had been assessed five-straight minor penalties by the officials in the first eleven minutes of the second period alone and the Griffins had capitalized on two of those opportunities with the man-advantage. To that point in the contest, Grand Rapids was 3 for 6 on the power play. Rockford had just one power play chance to that point and it resulted in a Dylan Olsen goal, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period.
No one on the Rockford side after the game was entirely blaming the refs for the lopsided power plays going in Grand Rapids favor. The IceHogs players and coach admitted most of the calls against them were warranted. Although, it was the hooking call referee Joe Sullivan gave Terry Broadhurst that gave Grand Rapids the power play that Landon Ferraro would use to put his team up 6-3 that had the IceHogs livid with the officiating. Read more »
Video of the long brawl that took place at the 11:58 mark of the second period between the Rockford IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins.
This video doesn’t capture the entire sequence of events. A little after this footage ends, as the officials were about to begin the process of sorting out the penalties and game misconducts, Adam Clendening and Tomas Tatar somehow ended up together on the far side of the ice across from the IceHogs bench and those two squared off and fought.