Category Archives: IceHogs

Mark Osiecki hired as assistant coach in Rockford; Ted Dent inks contract extension

By Chris Block

On Tuesday, the Chicago Blackhawks officially announced the hiring of former Ohio State University head coach Mark Osiecki to be the assistant coach for the Rockford IceHogs.

The news was first reported earlier on Tuesday by Andy Johnson of the Bucky’s 5th Quarter site.  Osiecki was hired by the Blackhawks last month.

Osiecki (Oh-SEE-kee) first spoke to Johnson from Blackhawks’ prospect camp, where Osiecki will be all this week helping assist in the practices and scrimmages.

“I’ve always wanted to step into the pro game and this was a perfect opportunity for me,” Osiecki told Johnson.

We can also confirm exclusively through a source that Osiecki will serve as the lone assistant to IceHogs head coach Ted Dent this season.  Also, Andrew Allen remains as goaltending coach.

As reported here first on TheThirdManIn.com last week, Ben Simon and Steve Poapst were let go as Rockford assistants following the season after their contracts expired and were not renewed.

Two-man benches are not an uncommon scenario in the AHL.  Ted Dent served as the only assistant under both Mike Haviland and Bill Peters from the 2006-07 season in Norfolk until 2010 when Poapst joined the staff in Peters’ last season behind the IceHogs’ bench.  Simon joined the staff in 2011 after Peters left for a job on Mike Babcock’s staff in Detroit and Dent was promoted to fill the spot Peters vacated.  In the dark days of the Blackhawks organization in the early 2000’s, Trent Yawney coached Chicago’s chief minor league affiliate Norfolk Admirals without an assistant.

–In addition to the confirmation of Dent’s new working partner, TheThirdManIn.com can also exclusively report the Chicago Blackhawks have extended the contract of Rockford’s head coach.

Ted Dent has agreed on terms of a two-year contract extension, with a club-option for a third season.  Read more »

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A look at the non-drafted Free Agent Invitees at this week’s Blackhawks prospect camp

By Chris Block

On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks will open their annual summer prospect camp over at Johnny’s Ice House West on Madison Street west of the United Center.

Blackhawks draft picks such as Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Stephen Johns, Mac Carruth, Dillon Fournier and Carl Dahlstrom among others will draw most of the attention.  However, filling out the practice groups and intra-squad scrimmages are a host of undrafted free agents from across the globe.

With 2012 first round pick Teuvo Teravainen skipping this year’s camp and 2013 first-rounder Ryan Hartman missing out while on the mend from a recent shoulder surgery, more opportunity for other less recognizable names and faces to leave an impression on Blackhawks management now exists.

In the past some of these camp invitees have gone on to earn contracts with the Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs or other organizations in the NHL and AHL.  This year’s crop is likely to be no different.

Today we’ll be profiling some of the more interesting names attending this year’s prospect camp under invitation.

JACKSON WHISTLE, 18 – Goaltender – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list of free agent invitees at this summer’s prospect camp is Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle. Read more »

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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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