Author Archives: Chris Block

Blackhawks have their way with the Devils

By Chris Block

If there ever was a game that could exemplify the current era Chicago Blackhawks, Monday’s 5-2 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils is just it.

The Hawks patented style of suffocating much of the opposition’s attempts at advancing the puck through the neutral zone was in full force.  And even when the Blackhawks let up temporarily and give an opponent a glimmer of hope, the Hawks are much too talented, and their opponent knows the fatal gut-punch is always potentially just around the next corner.

With the three-day Christmas break looming, the Chicago Blackhawks took to the United Center ice on Monday night to face off with a New Jersey Devils team that entered the contest with a .500 record (15-15-7).

Antti Raanta made his seventh consecutive start in the Hawks net since Corey Crawford suffered his injury during the first period of the December 8th game against the Florida Panthers.  Raanta made 10 saves against a grand total of 12 New Jersey shots on Monday in improving his overall NHL record to 8-1-2 (2.20 GAA, 91.6 sv%) and 5-1-1 as Chicago’s interim number one goalie. Read more »

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Video look-in at a recent IceHogs-Charlotte Checkers game through referee David Banfield’s helmet cam

A video look at the December 7, 2013 Rockford IceHogs – Charlotte Checkers contest through referee David Banfield’s helmet cam.

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PuckChatter~Radio, e.138, Tis the Season

By Chris Block

A Saturday matinee edition of TheThirdManIn.com’s ~ PuckChatter~Radio dropped today.

On the show, we discussed the finality and fallout from the end of the Kyle Beach era, Brandon Pirri’s demotion back to the Rockford IceHogs, the future of Nikolai Khabibulin in an Indian head sweater and a few other Blackhawks related items.

The show typically veered off the tracks as well in various off-topic stories including the “only” two things Block hates these days, his dog freezing to the ice in the frigid Chicago weather and the recent California expedition.  Also, Block tries, and fails to identify common hand tools and his father’s response to it, and our “Pud of the week” award is dealt out as well.

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 **The Hawks acquisition of goaltender Jason LaBarbera was announced just minutes after we finished recording this show.  Thus, it is not discussed here.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
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One-on-one interview with Joakim Nordstrom

Nordstrom_Joakim_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov09vsIowaJoakim Nordstrom battles for position with Iowa’s Tyler Graovac Nov 9th
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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By Chris Block

Joakim Nordstrom returned the Rockford IceHogs lineup on Saturday in Charlotte after being reassigned by the Blackhawks the previous day.

Nordstrom, 21, posted a goal and an assist in the IceHogs 5-3 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday night.  He was also a stunning plus-4 in the game.  Overall this season with the IceHogs, Nordstrom has skated in 16 contests, notching 6 goals and 2 assists to go with a plus-4 (plus/minus) rating.  Modest offensive numbers, though the Swede is scoring at a 20.0% shooting percentage (6/29). Read more »

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Beach searching for consistency, One more chance

BeachKyle_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov30_2Teammates celebrate Kyle Beach’s 1st of 3 goals Nov 30th
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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“It’s day to day.  This is Kyle’s fifth year here – or parts of five seasons.  It’s just him being a true professional in the way he conducts himself on and off the ice.  And when he crosses the line, then he’s not going to play, and he knows that.  And that’s why he hasn’t played the last (four games).” – IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

No one in the Blackhawks organization knows Kyle Beach better than Ted Dent.  The current Rockford bench boss was an assistant when Beach first dipped his toes into the professional ranks at the end of his junior seasons in 2009 and 2010.  Dent was there when Beach and Akim Aliu’s off-ice antics got the duo banished from the IceHogs during a playoff series after an incident in a Milwaukee hotel in 2009.  Dent was an assistant working directly with the forwards in Beach’s first full pro season in 2010-11, and became Rockford’s head coach in the summer of 2011.

So when the word came in late October that Beach’s hockey excursion to Sweden had come to an end, and the Blackhawks 2008 1st round pick would be returning to the IceHogs roster, I asked Dent what he was expecting from Beach once he did return to the team. Read more »

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Exclusive interview with Kyle Beach, plus Ted Dent talks Beach’s absence from the IceHogs lineup

BeachKyle_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013_Nov30Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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By Chris Block

After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.

Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.

Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, e.137; The Hjalmarsson Dance

By Chris Block

PuckChatter~Radio pulled off 2 shows in 6 days with another brand new episode on Tuesday night. dissecting the Kris Versteeg trade and the reasons why Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen were the players to go the other way.

We covered the official announcement of the retirement of former Blackhawk defenseman Adrian Aucoin, and the details of how he was since hired to the Blackhawks player development staff.  Aucoin’s retirement, new job as well as the accurate depiction of his Hawks career was covered on this site exactly one month ago.

Then, we give an in-person account of the exclusive Chicago Blackhawks/Banner Collective/Blackhawks TV – launch party for the One Goal II book and 17 Seconds film commemorating the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions that was held at The Wit hotel in downtown Chicago on Monday night – what it was, exclusive details and impressions of this event, film and book.

Also, we hit a couple listener emails, talked the Horseshoe Casino on a random November Saturday afternoon, Blackhawks-Predators, Block’s niece having poor in-game hockey etiquette, and bacon – Yeah, of course We want bacon!

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PuckChatter~Radio, Not Late Enough

By Chris Block

Since I had to work real late today, and missed the Blackhawks game, I figured we may as well do a PuckChatter~Radio.

On the show (we finished recording just before the Blackhawks-Panthers trade was announced), we discussed the Alex Broadhurst recall, Jeremy Morin’s scratchings, the Andrew Shaw contract extension, who’s next?, Brandon Bollig, the Blackhawks start, IceHogs injuries, the next wave of prospects, and which IceHogs defenseman has been flying under the radar this season.  Also, we’ll get to some listener emails, our upcoming trip to St. Louis, Superstar states his irritation with Block’s general tardiness – and much, much more.

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Full TTMI/PuckChatter~Radio Archive – Show feed
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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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West-leading IceHogs can’t close another 2-goal deficit

By Chris Block

Over the initial ten games of this IceHogs’ season, on four occasions Rockford came back from 2-goal deficits to emerge victorious.  In one of those games, their home opener against Grand Rapids on October 19th, Rockford actually trailed by 2 goals twice in the contest only to eventually attain the two points.

There is something to note about the character of a team when 4 of its 7 wins have come in dramatic comeback fashion.  Although, it can also leave behind a trail of just as many questions as it does answers.  And one thing is for sure – at this level, no team is going to maintain a .700 record for very long when the team is consistently falling behind early in games.

In Rockford, on Thursday night, the IceHogs afforded the Charlotte Checkers a 3-0 advantage before staging three unanswered tallies of their own, only to lose to the Checkers, 5-3.

On Friday night, Rockford bused north to Milwaukee for the first of twelve matches this season with the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate.

The IceHogs got goals from rookies Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst in Milwaukee.  But the Admirals jumped out to an early lead and then stretched a two-goal gap on Rockford midway through the game that Rockford this time would not close. Read more »

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IceHogs come from behind to win in Toronto

By Chris Block

Twenty four hours after surrendering a two-goal lead and losing in Hamilton, the Rockford IceHogs performed a comeback of their own, scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the Toronto Marlies, 3-2 before a crowd of 4,184 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Rockford was down 2-0 midway through the game when a Drew Leblanc offensive zone penalty put the IceHogs penalty killers on a crucial kill.  That unit was up to the task and the momentum gained from that stand carried over into back-to-back tallies from Alex and Terry Broadhurst to tie the game before the second period expired.

Jeremy Morin then scored late in the third period to give the IceHogs a lead they would not relinquish. Read more »

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