Category Archives: IceHogs

Coaching Changes: Blackhawks relieve assistants Ben Simon, Steve Poapst of their duties in Rockford

By Chris Block

In addition to the breaking news today that goaltending coach Stephane Waite is leaving the Chicago Blackhawks for the same position with the Montreal Canadiens, (this after last week when Stan Bowman said he expected Waite to stay with the Hawks) we can also confirm further coaching changes going on within the organization.

There has been a shuffling of the deck on the Rockford IceHogs coaching staff after the team failed to qualify for the AHL postseason for the third consecutive season.

Following up on some speculation we heard back in early May regarding the Rockford IceHogs coaching staff, the Chicago Blackhawks official site has removed the listing and profiles of Ben Simon and Steve Poapst, both assistant coaches for the IceHogs this past season.

We can confirm independently both Simon and Poapst have been released by the Blackhawks and are seeking new employment.

Ted Dent’s profile, as well that of goaltending coach Andrew Allen, are still listed on the Blackhawks web site.  Dent’s two-year contract expired with the conclusion of this season but it would appear he’s staying.  Dent was present in Boston at the Cup deciding Game 6 and for the parade and championship rally in Chicago on June 28th.

At this point, there has been no official word from the Blackhawks on these releases or who will be replacing the coaching roles vacated by Steve Poapst and Ben Simon. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, Rockford Season Review with Mike Peck, Voice of the IceHogs

By Chris Block

On Tuesday, we welcomed Mike Peck, the voice of the Rockford IceHogs, back to PuckChatter~Radio to help us recap the IceHogs’ 2012-13 season.

Over the course of this 40 minute show, Mike and I discussed the emergence of third-year pros Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Ben Smith and Ryan Stanton.  We also covered the development and future of other Blackhawks prospects, including Kyle Beach, Joe Lavin and Jimmy Hayes.  Also, we take a look at what next season’s IceHogs’ roster will look like.

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IceHogs playoff chances and scenarios; Dylan Olsen injury; notes on Drew Leblanc, Stephen Johns and more

By Chris Block

First off, a quick note:

I don’t have any shows of my own planned at the moment, but I can announce that I will be joining the HockeeNight PuckCast this Sunday night, April 21st.  We’ll be discussing the Blackhawks as they get primed for postseason; either a Rockford IceHogs post-mortem or playoff preview and if maybe even more 1960’s and 70’s northeast professional wrestling as we did last time I did the PuckCast.

–Nashville Predators’ winger Kevin Henderson will be making his NHL debut tonight against the Blackhawks at the UC.  Back in 2007, Henderson was an invitee to the Blackhawks summer prospect camp.  At that camp, Henderson skated on Jonathan Toews’ line.  The summer ’07 camp was the one just prior to Toews and Patrick Kane’s rookie seasons.

DYLAN OLSEN UPDATE

The Blackhawks 2009 first round pick suffered a foot injury on April 7th in a game against the Peoria Rivermen in Rockford.  Olsen blocked a shot off his left foot during the second period of that game and has not played since.

Olsen was back skating with the IceHogs this week and could possibly play in the regular season finale tomorrow night in Cedar Park, Texas.  Olsen has been ruled out of tonight’s game in San Antonio, however.

Tonight, Rockford will go with the following defense pairs: Ryan Stanton-Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck-Steve Montador, Joe Lavin-Shawn Lalonde.

ROCKFORD ICEHOGS – It all comes down to this…

The Rockford IceHogs (40-31-2-1, .561, 83 points) wrap up their regular season this weekend with two games in the Lone Star State.

Tonight, Rockford will visit the San Antonio Rampage (29-36-2-7, .453).  The Rampage (14th in the west) are the AHL affiliate to the Florida Panthers. Read more »

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IceHogs keep playoffs in sight with big win in Milwaukee

By Chris Block

One night after picking up a huge 7-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in their regular season home finale, the Rockford IceHogs hit the road, again set out to keep their AHL postseason bid alive in a crucial divisional matchup with the 8th place Milwaukee Admirals.

Rockford came into Saturday’s contest in 9th place in the Western Conference, tied at 81 in points with Milwaukee, though the Admirals hold two games in hand over the IceHogs heading into the final week of the regular season.

On the heels of Brandon Pirri’s franchise record 6-point (1 goal, 5 assists) night and Ben Smith’s hat-trick in the win over the Wolves, the IceHogs had to beat the Admirals on Saturday if they had any hopes of sneaking into the postseason.

Backed by a 20 save performance by Carter Hutton and goals by Adam Clendening, Ben Smith and Klas Dahlbeck, Rockford did just that, defeating the Admirals 3-1 on Saturday before a crowd of 8,895 fans at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Read more »

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Blackhawks re-acquire Michal Handzus, send Brandon Bollig back to Rockford; More roster notes

MichaelHandzus_Flow

By Chris Block

Chicago Blackhawks on Monday acquired center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth round selection in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

In 28 games this season with the Sharks, Handzus posted 1 goal and 1 assist.  He was a minus-9 while playing mostly third and fourth line minutes for the Sharks.

The pick the Blackhawks sent San Jose had originally belonged to the Sharks.  At the 2012 Draft, the Hawks and Sharks swapped 4th round picks, so the Sharks could move up and the Hawks could pick up an additional 7th round selection.  That later pick, obtained from San Jose, originally belonged to Tampa Bay which the Sharks obtained in a trade involving center Dominic Moore.  Chicago used the additional 2012 7th round pick (191st overall) to select goaltender Brandon Whitney of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), the same team Phillip Danault played for at the time.

Handzus turned 36 last month.  This will be his second stint with the Blackhawks organization.  He is now the second-oldest Blackhawk behind Jamal Mayers, who is 38.

Michal Handzus previously spent the 2006-07 season with the Blackhawks, appearing in only 8 games in October of 2006 before knee surgery ended his season.  Read more »

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Video of the IceHogs-Wolves bench brawl incident Sunday in Rosemont

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Joakim Nordstrom to join IceHogs this week, more prospects on the way; update on Olesz, Montador on waivers

JoakimNordstrom_AIK_JesperZerman_seJoakim Nordstrom, photo credit: jesperzerman.se

By Chris Block

With the European leagues, U.S. collegiate hockey and Canadian junior hockey seasons winding down and beginning each of its playoffs, several Chicago Blackhawks prospects will soon arrive in Rockford, Illinois to cap off their seasons with a trial showcase at the American Hockey League level.

As we noted Sunday on Twitter, the first of those prospects will arrive in Rockford later this week.

Joakim Nordstrom, who the Blackhawks selected with the final pick (90th overall) in the 3rd round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to join the Rockford IceHogs by the end of the week. Read more »

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Ben Smith says he doesn’t regret fight that cost him a chance to make the Blackhawks for 2nd straight season; For now, focused on leading the IceHogs

Smith_Ben_IceHogsphoto courtesy of the Rockford IceHogs

The following is the piece published in Tuesday night’s issue of The Committed Indian, the official~unofficial Chicago Blackhawks home game night program, which you can buy individual copies or subscribe to at this link.

By Chris Block

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 »

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Rockford caps Four-Point Weekend with Shootout Victory over Lake Erie, BMO Zamboni is day-to-day

By Jon Fromi

It took regulation, overtime and seven rounds of a shootout, but the Rockford IceHogs completed two weekend victories with a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Lake Erie Monsters. Brad Mills’ successful attempt past Calvin Pickard provided the winning margin after Carter Hutton stopped Carl Stollery to end the contest.

It really was a battle of opposing net-minders, with Hutton making 35 saves on 36 Lake Erie attempts. Hutton was named the game’s first star.

Pickard stopped 40 of the 41 shots he faced, the lone goal coming via a Kyle Beach power play goal in the final minute of the first period. The tally, which was assisted by Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin, tied the score at a goal apiece following Paul Carey’s goal midway through the first. Read more »

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Recap and observations of Rockford’s 2-0 loss to Houston on Saturday; IceHogs 5th straight loss at home

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs have played 48 games of their 2012-13 schedule. Despite avoiding the poor start that has plagued the team in recent seasons, post lockout struggles have put the IceHogs in an all-too-familiar position. Namely, near the bottom of the AHL Western Conference and looking at an uphill climb to a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign.

Saturday’s effort at the BMO Center didn’t inspire confidence as the IceHogs were shutout by Houston 2-0. Since play resumed last month, Rockford has limped to a 3-7 mark. The luck wasn’t any better against the Aeros.

Both Aeros goals were of the same variety. Ben Youds failed to clear the Hogs zone in the waning seconds of the opening period, leading to a two-on-one chance that was made good when Johan Larsson beat a sprawling Henrik Karlsson with eight seconds left. Read more »

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