Category Archives: IceHogs

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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Adam Clendening praises Nick Leddy; talks AHL All-Star game, Scrimmaging the Blackhawks, Hybrid Icing

Clendening_2012Dec29_TaylorBeck_KrisGray_IceHogsphoto credit: Kris Gray, Rockford IceHogs
Adam Clendening battles for the puck with Milwaukee’s Taylor Beck (41)

 

By Chris Block

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 »

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More disciplined Hogs still fall to .500 in 2-1 loss to Wolves

By Chris Block

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 »

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IceHogs release Lebda, Sign Four; Karlsson Visa Issue Delays Debut; How Carter Hutton’s season stacks up; more Rockford news and notes

By Chris Block

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 »

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