Category Archives: Interview

Interview with Antti Raanta on his demotion, the trade deadline, his future and playing for a Cup in Rockford

Raanta_IceHogs_2015Mar06_OKCAntti Raanta, March 6, 2015 in Rockford vs Oklahoma City
Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

“When they said I was going down (to Rockford) – you just have so many questions inside your head. You try to figure it out, like ‘what did I do wrong?’” – Antti Raanta

Antti Raanta couldn’t have done much better for the Blackhawks this season.

In 12 starts and 14 appearances overall, the Blackhawks’ backup goalie went 7-4-1 with a 1.89 goals against average and .936 save percentage. He posted two shutouts, which is the same number of shutouts as Corey Crawford has tallied through 52 starts in 2014-15.

But after parts of two seasons under Joel Quenneville’s watch, the six-foot one inch Raanta fell down the depth chart in some key decision makers minds with the emergence this year of the 6’6” Scott Darling.

Quenneville was one of those minds.

Raanta last appeared for the Hawks in relief duty of a 6-2 drubbing by Boston at the United Center on February 22. Raanta entered more than halfway into the second period when the Hawks were already down 4-1. Read more »

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Van Riemsdyk On Long Road Back to the NHL

vanRiemsdyk_courtesy_IceHogs_2015Mar18_ADR_2_458x500Trevor van Riemsdyk, Wednesday March 18th in Rockford
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

Back-to-back serious injuries have posed a challenge to the bright, young career of Trevor van Riemsdyk.

The 23-year old New Jersey native, affectionately known by Blackhawks fans now as ‘TVR’, had his rookie season derailed after 18 games on November 16 when he blocked a Trevor Daley shot off the side of his left knee in the first period against the Dallas Stars, which was also the night of Brad Richards’ 1,000th game.

“I couldn’t tell at first. I just knew that it hurt,” said van Riemsdyk when asked if he knew the severity of the injury right away. “But I didn’t know how serious it could be. So then I got the x-ray done and that was that.”

Further examinations determined van Riemsdyk had suffered a fractured left patella bone and he underwent surgery four days later. Doctors projected he would need 3-4 months of recovery time. A hundred and seventeen days went by before van Riemsdyk would play in his next game. Read more »

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Teravainen Staying Up, Focused After Recent Demotion to Rockford

Teravainen_2015_Feb14_IceHogs_Rockford_vs_OKC_500x333Teuvo Teravainen skating back in Rockford, Feb 14, 2015 vs Oklahoma City
Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

The afternoon after an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks, 20-year old Teuvo Teravainen got the call all rookie players dread.

“After practice Quenneville called me and said what was happening,” Teravainen recounted.

The news Joel Quenneville relayed was that Teravainen was being sent back to the minors. After 15 games, 2 goals and 4 total points, Quenneville informed Teravainen that he would be trading in his number 86 Blackhawks sweater for a Rockford IceHogs, number 21, at least for the time being.

“He told me to just get some ice time (in Rockford). Play my game. Try to be dominant on the ice. Play good. That’s all. Have some fun.”

It was a disappointing development for the confident Finnish center, but Teravainen isn’t allowing the demotion to get him down.

“Of course my goal is to be up [in Chicago], but right now I’m [in Rockford] and I’m trying to help this team out.” Read more »

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Phillip Danault talks NHL call up, Experience playing for coach Joel Quenneville

Danault_2014Oct11_IceHogs_500x333Phillip Danault battles with Joe Piskula on Opening Night
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs


By Chris Block

On November 20th, Phillip Danault got the call he’d been working toward for a decade.

That night, while the Blackhawks were in Calgary skating against the Flames, Danault received a call from Rockford IceHogs GM and Blackhawks’ director of minor league affiliates, Mark Bernard.

The news was good. Danault got word he was being called up to the NHL. He immediately began packing his bags and was to be on the first flight out of O’Hare airport to Edmonton the next morning. Danault arrived in northern Alberta just in time to join his new teammates for the final seconds of that Friday morning’s practice.

Danault, 21, made his NHL debut the very next night, on November 22nd in Edmonton. He centered the Hawks’ fourth line and even got in a few power play shifts after the game got out of hand at Rexall Place. Danault didn’t make it onto the scoresheet, though the Hawks won 7-1. Read more »

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Stan Bowman talks Enforcer role; its place on the Chicago Blackhawks

Stan Bowman

By Chris Block

Amidst Tuesday night’s exhibition opener at United Center, which was essentially a nothing evening save for Cuba Gooding Jr.’s disrobing during the very first conciliatory version of the between-periods Shoot the Puck competition, the only intelligence of any substance coming away from the event took place in the CSN Chicago broadcast booth during the second period.

Stan Bowman joined Pat Foley and Eddie Olcyzk for the initial ten minutes of the second stanza for something of a Blackhawks’ state of September address.

Mostly-discussed were the team’s top prospects in camp and their individual progressions, with Jeremy Morin, Teuvo Teravainen, Phillip Danault and Klas Dahlbeck being spotlighted. Rockford IceHogs’ coach Ted Dent also received high praise from Bowman after Foley raised his name. Read more »

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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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Beach searching for consistency, One more chance

BeachKyle_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov30_2Teammates celebrate Kyle Beach’s 1st of 3 goals Nov 30th
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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“It’s day to day.  This is Kyle’s fifth year here – or parts of five seasons.  It’s just him being a true professional in the way he conducts himself on and off the ice.  And when he crosses the line, then he’s not going to play, and he knows that.  And that’s why he hasn’t played the last (four games).” – IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

No one in the Blackhawks organization knows Kyle Beach better than Ted Dent.  The current Rockford bench boss was an assistant when Beach first dipped his toes into the professional ranks at the end of his junior seasons in 2009 and 2010.  Dent was there when Beach and Akim Aliu’s off-ice antics got the duo banished from the IceHogs during a playoff series after an incident in a Milwaukee hotel in 2009.  Dent was an assistant working directly with the forwards in Beach’s first full pro season in 2010-11, and became Rockford’s head coach in the summer of 2011.

So when the word came in late October that Beach’s hockey excursion to Sweden had come to an end, and the Blackhawks 2008 1st round pick would be returning to the IceHogs roster, I asked Dent what he was expecting from Beach once he did return to the team. Read more »

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Exclusive interview with Kyle Beach, plus Ted Dent talks Beach’s absence from the IceHogs lineup

BeachKyle_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013_Nov30Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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By Chris Block

After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.

Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.

Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick. Read more »

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Audio: Interview with Blackhawks 1st round draft pick and IceHogs defenseman, Dylan Olsen

Olsen_Dylan_IceHogs

By Chris Block

The Rockford IceHogs open their 2013-14 this weekend in Texas and Chicago Blackhawks 2009 1st round draft pick Dylan Olsen is looking to put a disappointing 2012-13 season behind him.

We caught up with Olsen in Rockford this past Saturday.

In this interview, Olsen discusses his goals for this season, working his way back up the ladder in the Hawks organization, being tougher to play against, an increased role in Rockford, working with new assistant coach Mark Osiecki, how he spent his summer and much more.

Click the play button below to listen (Flash player required)…

Or, Right-Click Here to Download this 8-minute interview

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If you missed our season preview chat with IceHogs coach Ted Dent, you can check that out here.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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Audio: Rockford Season Preview interview with IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

Dent_Sweden_20120821Rockford IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

On Saturday, we had a chance to chat with IceHogs head coach Ted Dent about the upcoming 2013-14 American Hockey League season.

Over the course of the interview, Dent discussed how he and his coaching staff are preparing for the season, working with the Chicago Blackhawks prospects, his team’s depth at center ice and on the blue line; and first round draft picks Kyle Beach and Dylan Olsen.

We also discussed Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman recently stating publicly that the development of their top players in Rockford is more important than actual wins and losses on the ice.

Its a good, informative conversation. Check it out.

Click the play button below (Flash player required) to listen,

Or, Right-Click here to download the 18 minute interview.

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You can follow the IceHogs coach on Twitter… @TDent10

[Note: This interview was conducted on Saturday September 28th, prior to Kyle Beach being assigned to play for the HV 71 club in the Swedish Hockey League (formerly Swedish Elite League).  With HV 71, Beach will be teammates with former Chicago Wolves forwards Brett Sterling and Jason Krog.  We’ll have much more on this on Monday.]

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