Nov 182012
 

By Chris Block

A fluke Adam Clendening skate blowout and another case of mindless minor penalties made all the difference on Sunday night as the Rockford IceHogs suffered their 8th regulation loss in 15 games (6-8-0-1), falling to the Houston Aeros 3-2.

On the positive side, the IceHogs’ power play snapped out of its 0 for 15 funk in going 2 for 4 on the night.  Ben Smith and Adam Clendening, making up for his ill-timed clumsiness less than a minute earlier, tallied Rockford’s goals with the man advantage.

The game was played before a crowd of 11,175 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Houston is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.  Sunday served as a home game for the Aeros.

Carter Hutton was good, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he faced, but he almost had no chance to stop Johan Larsson’s goal after Clendening blew a tire out next to Hutton’s net and left a puck out in the low slot for Larsson to bang home, giving Houston the decisive 3-1 advantage with 9:59 remaining in the third period. Continue reading »

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Nov 152012
 

By Chris Block

Rockford let a good opportunity to get back to the .500 mark slip away on Wednesday night when they hosted Peoria, the team that had scored the fewest goals coming in as well as owning the worst record in the AHL.

The IceHogs received goals from Martin St. Pierre, Pete Leblanc, Brandon Saad and Jeremy Morin but four were not enough and Peoria stunned a sparse crowd of 2,205 at the BMO Harris Bank Center in defeating Rockford 5-4.

Wednesday’s game started out promising enough.

Although the IceHogs penalty woes surfaced early when Brandon Bollig added to Rockford’s league-leading total when he was sent to the box for tripping Evgeny Grachev inside the Peoria zone three minutes into Wednesday night’s contest, the IceHogs still managed to strike while short-handed. Continue reading »

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Nov 142012
 

By Chris Block

Each week from now until the end of the season we will bring you a first-hand account of the latest news, developments and analysis of this season’s Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Conflict of Interests?

“Well, we’re 1-3.  So, that’s my assessment.”

That was IceHogs coach Ted Dent this past Saturday night after a 4-2 loss at home when asked to give his assessment of Jimmy Hayes’ performance in the four games after the decision was made to move Hayes from his regular spot at right wing, over to the center ice position.

Eight games into the season, the edict came down from Chicago Blackhawks management that they wanted to see how Hayes would do at center.

Little forward thinking went into this decision either, apparently.  Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith was quickly dispatched to Rockford to go over film and one-on-one instruction over three days with Hayes, who admittedly hadn’t played the center position since he was a kid.

Not during training camp.  Not over the summer when Hayes was a part of a group of 12 top Blackhawks prospects who traveled to Sweden for a five-day August mini-camp.  No, during the last week of October was when the IceHogs coach received word he was to play Hayes at center until further notice.

“No, I haven’t played there in a long time,” Jimmy Hayes said last week. Continue reading »

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Nov 052012
 

 By Chris Block

Puck Chatter~Radio returned Monday night to recap a full weekend of Rockford IceHogs hockey.

Kyle Beach, two weeks removed from being a healthy scratch for two consecutive games, emerged as one of the bright lights in an otherwise strange and alarming weekend for the IceHogs.  After posting 3 goals and 2 assists in two games over the weekend, Beach was named AHL Player of the Week on Monday.  We’ll discuss Beach’s weekend and his impact in Saturday’s huge comeback win over Lake Erie as well as listen to his own thoughts discussing Saturday night’s wild victory.

We also discuss Jimmy Hayes at his new position, how that came to be and what may be the thought process behind it.  You’ll hear Ted Dent’s thoughts on the officiating in Saturday night’s affair, in which the IceHogs were short-handed a total of nine times.

Also we delve into listener emails on topics such as Alexander Salak, the accurate story on Rostislav Olesz‘s current status, more on Kyle Beach, Jeremy Roenick‘s new book, big Birthdays upcoming, NHL13, update on bonertime~! and much much more.

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Nov 022012
 

By Chris Block

After getting off to an auspicious 0-3-0-1 start to the 2012-13 season, the IceHogs rolled off 4 straight wins over eight days last week to vault themselves into second place in the AHL’s Midwest Division and two points behind the first-place Chicago Wolves.

Those same Wolves will travel up Interstate 90 tonight to face the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm.

In the only other two meetings between the two teams this season, the Wolves bested the IceHogs back on opening weekend, both times at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.  The Wolves begin their annual November road trip with tonight’s game.  They’ll be on the road for their next five games due to the annual circus stint at Allstate Arena.

Chicago defeated the IceHogs 1-0 in a shootout on October 13th and then again 5-3 the following day. Eddie Lack was in goal for the Wolves both nights and is expected to start between the pipes again for Chicago tonight. Continue reading »

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Oct 222012
 

{A huge thanks to Jon Fromi for sending in this IceHogs report since I was away this weekend for a wedding and have yet to see a second of the weekend’s games. –Chris Block}

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs managed to remove the goose egg from the win column in their fifth game of the 2012-13 season. After a weekend that started with back to back losses to Peoria and Charlotte, a crowd of just over 2,905 at the BMO Harris Bank Center watched Jimmy Hayes score his first two goals of the season in the third period as the IceHogs defeated the Checkers Sunday by a score of 5-4.

Charlotte found several ways to bounce pucks past Alec Richards, but Rockford was able to prevail with an offensive effort that was absent in a pair of one-goal defeats Friday and Saturday. Richards, who spelled Carter Hutton, picked up the win in his first start of the season, making 23 saves on 27 shots.

After a scoreless first period, Rockford staked a 2-0 advantage on goals by Martin St. Pierre and Brandon Pirri. St. Pierre took a feed from Marcus Kruger in the slot just 58 seconds into the second period to open the scoring. Pirri took a pass from Ben Youds late in the eighth minute, pulled up in the high slot, and sent a slap shot over the blocker of Justin Peters to give the IceHogs a two-goal lead at the 7:55 mark. Continue reading »

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Oct 052012
 

By Chris Block

Once night removed from a 6-1 clobbering at the hands of the Chicago Wolves in their first preseason game, the Rockford IceHogs returned home to clip the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 in a shootout victory.

In the end, the three deciding IceHogs’ goals all came off sticks of players who played or finished last season with the Blackhawks.

Carter Hutton started the game for Rockford and gave up a deflating goal against to Milwaukee’s Jani Lajunen at 7:30 of the period.  The goal defined the first period for the IceHogs.  Lajunen picked up a puck along the goal line to Hutton’s left and tossed a weak backhand attempt toward the Rockford goaltender.  Hutton was a couple feet off the post and was caught off guard by the shot, which hit him in the left pad and trickled over the goal line to give the Admirals the early lead.

The period as a whole was largely forgettable for the IceHogs.  With 11 players seeing their first game action of the preseason, nearly everyone seemed sluggish and the team was out of synch.

With four and a half minutes left in the first period, Daniel Bang (apparently pronounced “Bong”  So, Dan Bong-banged in the rebound.  Okay, I’m done.) scored a power play tally for Milwaukee when he picked up a rebound and beat Hutton to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead.  A hooking penalty to Brandon Pirri had sent Milwaukee to the power play.  Marcus Kruger and Jimmy Hayes were sent out kill the first portion of Pirri’s penalty.  But the trouble began when Kruger was kicked out of the circle on the defensive zone draw.  Hayes then came in and lost the draw, pinning Rockford against it in their own zone. Continue reading »

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Sep 112012
 

By Chris Block

This week we’re joined by Mike Peck, play-by-play voice of the Rockford IceHogs, to preview the 2012-13 IceHogs’ team.

On this show we discuss the progressions made in the games of prospects Carter Hutton, Brandon Bollig, Dylan Olsen, Ryan Stanton, Joe Lavin and others. We take a look at who will emerge as the IceHogs team leaders and captains for this season, the changes in Jeremy Morin‘s game, the impact Rob Flick can have in the Rockford lineup, Pete Leblanc‘s journey to an NHL contract, Rostislav Olesz‘s status as well as the potential IceHogs roster should the NHL Lockout proceed as expected.

Mike also gives us the scouting report on Rockford signing Martin St. Pierre.

We discuss the ramifications of today’s Michal Rozsival signing by the Blackhawks and how that move will impact Rockford’s roster. [see Depth Chart]

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PuckChatter~Radio will return next week with the first show of the dreaded NHL Lockout period.

**Next week seems like the perfect time to do some Blackhawks prospects / Rockford IceHogs Q&A from you, the listener.  So if you have any questions in general about this season’s IceHogs, or follow ups to anything Mike and I discussed on this show, post those questions in the comment section below, or its probably better to email those to me directly at PuckChatter@Gmail.com.

And again, if you missed last week’s interview with former Blackhawk Steve Ludzik, check it out!  Ludzy is a tremendous interview and was very generous with his time with us.  As always, he told some great stories and dropped some interesting nuggets down for us.

**I should point out a correction from the show.  I misspoke.  Michal Rozsival’s deal is a 1-year, $2M agreement.


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Aug 222012
 

Photo credit: www.sskoveralltalltid.se

By Chris Block

For the second consecutive year, the Blackhawks have teamed up with a European league team for a friendly preseason tune-up.

Twelve Blackhawks players and prospects are in the town of Södertälje, Sweden this week taking part in a week-long mini conditioning camp.

These Blackhawks are guests of the Södertälje Sportklubb (SSK), a team in the Allsvenskan league, a level below the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien), as the Södertälje team makes its final preparations to begin its 2012-13 regular season.

List of Blackhawks players and prospects in Sweden for this week’s workouts:

Nick Leddy
Marcus Kruger
Dylan Olsen
Jimmy Hayes
Kevin Hayes
Ben Smith
Brandon Pirri
Jeremy Morin
Brandon Saad
Adam Clendening
Klas Dahlbeck

Brandon Bollig will join the group on Wednesday after clearing up a passport issue. Continue reading »

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Aug 172012
 

By Chris Block

The American Hockey League released its 2012-13 regular season schedule on Friday.

For the Rockford IceHogs, the 76-game jaunt begins on Saturday October 13th at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Wolves.  The two teams will face off again in the same venue the next afternoon.

Rockford’s home opener takes place Saturday October 20th in the first of a two-game weekend set with the Charlotte Checkers at BMO Harris Bank Center.

You can download a PDF of the Rockford IceHogs schedule here.  You can also view it here.

The IceHogs’ regular season home finale comes on Friday April 12th against the visiting Chicago Wolves.

Six of the IceHogs final eight regular season games will come on the road, including their final three.

Rockford completes the regular season in Austin, Texas on Saturday April 20th.

This season’s slate also comes with a neutral site game to be played on Sunday November 18th at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The IceHogs opponent will be the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Continue reading »

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