Category Archives: Committed Indian

Early season story on Antti Raanta, his Opening Night injury scare, how he became a Blackhawk, what won him over, his style and much more

For those who buy or read The Committed Indian program on, or at Blackhawks home games, I have a 2-page feature running in Wednesday’s issue that hopefully you’ll find interesting.  The following is a story I did on Antti Raanta that ran in The Committed Indian back in November.  I’ve had requests to post it here, but kept forgetting to do so.  So here it is, as it ran on 11/6/13.  Raanta was recalled to the Blackhawks eleven days later, after Nikolai Khabibulin went down with a groin injury.  Stan Bowman announced today that Khabibulin underwent shoulder surgery that Bowman said would keep the veteran netminder out of action another 4-5 months.  Khabibulin will turn 41 this coming Monday.  While Bowman claimed Khabibulin “could” return this season, that timetable would put Khabibulin out until around the time of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Thus, Raanta, for the foreseeable future, is Corey Crawford’s backup and second on the Blackhawks goaltending depth chart.

 Raanta_Antti-GHAntti Raanta in action for Rockford, 10/19/13 vs Grand Rapids
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

By Chris Block

A long way from his home in Finland, Antti Raanta led the Rockford IceHogs onto the ice at AT&T Center in San Antonio last month.  Outside, it was just another steamy October Saturday in south Texas.  Inside, the IceHogs were opening the 2013-14 season.  And for Raanta, it was the beginning of the next stage in his pursuit of realizing his dream of becoming an NHL goaltender. Read more »

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One Worth Waiting For

Dylan Olsen – Image courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

The following is a Dylan Olsen feature as it appeared in the December 28th edition of The Committed Indian.

By Chris Block

Nick Leddy’s acceleration into the top-4 has calmed nearly all fear Brian Campbell’s exit would cripple the Hawks’ depth.  With young prospects like Dylan Olsen (2009, 1st rd #28), Shawn Lalonde (2008, 3rd rd #68), Joe Lavin (2008, 5th rd #126) and non-drafted signings Brian Connelly and Ryan Stanton patrolling the point in Rockford, Stan Bowman probably rest assured he had plenty of talent in the pipeline if Leddy stumbled.

To this point, however, Rockford allows the most goals against in the AHL.  It’s true though, too much blame has been placed on the IceHogs blue line for the team’s defensive woes.  The goaltending has ranged from average to turn your head away bad.  Many times, the IceHogs are their own worst enemy. Trouble usually begins with the zone-exit pass and taking chances instead of just playing it safe and getting the puck deep, leading to turnovers.  From there, the defense is in a scramble and the forwards don’t provide much help at times.  The defense isn’t as bad as it looks on paper, but it’s not like it’ll produce three or more full-time NHLers either.

However, there is one cant-miss on the IceHogs blue line.  He’s still a half season away, but Dylan Olsen is looking like that guy.

Blackhawks fans have longed for a big, mean, shut-down defenseman to eat minutes, kill penalties and take some of the burden off stalwarts Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. Read more »

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Say a Prayer for the Dying

The following piece ran in Sunday‘s Committed Indian, before Game 3.

By Chris Block

The Chicago Blackhawks 2010-11 season has entered the ICU.

Many of us saw this coming.  Yet, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when reality comes knocking.  The Vancouver Canucks come to United Center Sunday night looking to put the fatal wound in the 2010 and defending Stanley Cup champions’ repeat bid.

The Hawks simply cannot skate with Vancouver, the league’s best team.  They’re doing all they can just to keep up.  I’m certain Kane, Sharp or Toews will show up this week and the Hawks will win a game or two, but it’ll be too late.

The Hawks have not come back to win a series after dropping the first two on the road since 1968.  Sixteen series with the exact scenario have gone by since and the Hawks 0 for 16.  The Flyers did it to Boston last year, but this year’s Hawks don’t compare to last year’s Flyers.

Cap constraints, turnover, new faces and questionable maneuverings had the defending Cup champs behind from the start of training camp.

Logic figured the Hawks would be a very good team all season, hit a wall at some point and fall short of its ‘One Goal’.  They were, somewhat and they did – and now the Canucks are here to make certain of the latter.

What we didn’t expect out of 2010-11 was for the team to take steps backwards. Read more »

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Jan 12th Committed Indian Column

The following is my column which ran in Wednesday night’s Committed Indian.

One thing struck me going back and watching last Friday night’s broadcast of the Hawks-Senators game that I felt shined a spotlight on what’s wrong with the Blackhawks this season.

In breaking down and assessing blame for the Senators’ power play goal at the start of the first period, Eddie Olczyk put Fernando Pisani under the bus for doing the very thing that has been missing since June 9thbeing aggressive.

On Daniel Alfredsson’s goal, 49 seconds into the middle stanza, Olczyk ranted on and on over Pisani putting too much pressure on Sergei Gonchar as the top pointman quarterbacking the Sens’ power play.  How soon we forget how these things were done for the last three years.  Olczyk tried to make the point that Pisani’s over-pursuit of Gonchar disassembled the Hawks’ zone coverage.  If Joel Quenneville and his staff have instructed their penalty killers to sit back in a passive box, then Olczyk is factually correct in this case.

But I wouldn’t be so quick to take Olczyk’s word for it.  After all, what experience did he ever have playing in his defensive zone?  And ask Mark Recchi how much he thinks of Olczyk’s hockey acumen. Read more »

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