Category Archives: Interview

AUDIO: Interview with ‘Hawks prospect Jeremy Morin

By Chris Block

We chatted with IceHogs winger Jeremy Morin this past Saturday, shortly before Rockford concluded its 2011-12 season with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Charlotte Checkers.

After being sidelined for ten months with a head injury suffered on January 15, 2011 in a game against the Chicago Wolves in Rosemont, Morin returned in October to score goals in back-to-back games and on his only two shots of that weekend.  But the goals were difficult to come by for Morin over the following three months.

Morin wrapped his AHL season with 18 goals and 40 points in 69 games with the IceHogs.

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During the interview, we discuss…

-Starting his season with 2 goals in 2 games after being out of action for 10 months

-At what point he felt 100% again Read more »

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AUDIO: Interview with IceHogs coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

We were fortunate enough on Saturday to sit down with Rockford IceHogs’ head coach Ted Dent for a lengthy season-in-review discussion.

In this twenty-five minute interview, Dent shared his take on the gamut of subjects from coaching, to working in unison with Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks coaching staff to the ups and down season his IceHogs experienced in this 2011-12 season.

Dent also gives his take on the state of Kyle Beach‘s progression, where he thinks Beach could be had it not been for missing four months due to shoulder surgery and if Dent has been surprised at all by the rapid ascension of Andrew Shaw.

To listen, click the play button or Right-Click Here to Download

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In this conversation, Dent gives his analysis and discusses various topics including….

-Getting opportunity to be a head coach at AHL level

-Relationships with players and the transition from being an assistant to the head coach

-What aspect he looked to change in Rockford

-Dialogue ongoing between Chicago and Rockford

-Communicating with, and leaning on Joel Quenneville for advice. Read more »

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AUDIO Interview with Blackhawks prospect Joe Lavin

By Chris Block

This morning I had an opportunity to chat with Rockford IceHogs first-year defenseman Joe Lavin.

In his first pro season, Lavin has quietly risen into the top tier of upcoming Chicago Blackhawks prospects on the defense.  Lavin turned pro last April after completing his collegiate career as the captain of the University f Notre Dame where he was a regular pair-mate with another Blackhawks’ prospect, Stephen Johns.  The Blackhawks drafted Lavin in the 5th round (126th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

At 23, Lavin is one of the older IceHogs but he also carries himself like a ten-year veteran.  Lavin plays an intelligent game from the blue line and his improved agility and mobility have helped advance his offensive skill set as well at the pro level.

The interview is about ten and a half minutes long following an introduction.

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We touched on a variety of topics with Joe Lavin, including…. Read more »

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One Worth Waiting For

Dylan Olsen – Image courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

The following is a Dylan Olsen feature as it appeared in the December 28th edition of The Committed Indian.

By Chris Block

Nick Leddy’s acceleration into the top-4 has calmed nearly all fear Brian Campbell’s exit would cripple the Hawks’ depth.  With young prospects like Dylan Olsen (2009, 1st rd #28), Shawn Lalonde (2008, 3rd rd #68), Joe Lavin (2008, 5th rd #126) and non-drafted signings Brian Connelly and Ryan Stanton patrolling the point in Rockford, Stan Bowman probably rest assured he had plenty of talent in the pipeline if Leddy stumbled.

To this point, however, Rockford allows the most goals against in the AHL.  It’s true though, too much blame has been placed on the IceHogs blue line for the team’s defensive woes.  The goaltending has ranged from average to turn your head away bad.  Many times, the IceHogs are their own worst enemy. Trouble usually begins with the zone-exit pass and taking chances instead of just playing it safe and getting the puck deep, leading to turnovers.  From there, the defense is in a scramble and the forwards don’t provide much help at times.  The defense isn’t as bad as it looks on paper, but it’s not like it’ll produce three or more full-time NHLers either.

However, there is one cant-miss on the IceHogs blue line.  He’s still a half season away, but Dylan Olsen is looking like that guy.

Blackhawks fans have longed for a big, mean, shut-down defenseman to eat minutes, kill penalties and take some of the burden off stalwarts Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. Read more »

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Rusty Olesz content playing in Rockford, for now

By Chris Block

If Rostislav Olesz is upset over residing in Rockford these days, he’s surely not showing his hand.

When asked last week if he was disappointed when he learned the Blackhawks were reassigning him to their American Hockey League affiliate, Olesz described his feelings a different way.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed,” he replied.

“The disappointment was sitting in the stands and watching the game up [with the Blackhawks].  To play six, seven minutes a game is disappointing for a player.”

Olesz does not seem as phased by the demotion as he probably should be.  The fact his one-way contract pays him the same no matter where he plays probably has that influence.

During his first three weeks with Rockford, Olesz turned down all media and interview requests, even from the IceHogs.  He’s not a very talkative guy.  Instead he says he wants to let his play do the talking.

The 26-year old, Czech-born left winger came over to the Blackhawks in the draft day deal that sent defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers.  Olesz said he learned of the trade on his first day back at home in the Czech Republic.

It was a man-for-man transaction.  One ‘bad’ contract for another.  In the deal, the Hawks gave themselves cap flexibility but also are now stuck with a player who they don’t have a place for, or know what to do with and they pay roughly half of what Campbell earned.

All along there was one caveat attached to the trade – the Panthers knew they were getting a top-end puck-moving defenseman who could eat a ton of minutes on their inexperienced blue line, while the Blackhawks had no idea what to expect from Olesz. Read more »

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Eddie Olczyk calls Brian Campbell a 5th defenseman; touts Bieksa


On Monday, Blackhawks television color analyst Eddie Olczyk was a guest on Chicago sports radio 670 TheScore discussing the team’s moves over draft weekend with hosts of the station’s midday show.

Olczyk joined hosts Dan McNeil and Matt Speigel, essentially, as you’ll read, to rundown outgoing Hawks’ defenseman Brian Campbell. Read more »

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Check out this Monday night’s Hockeenight PuckCast

I’ll be returning as a guest on this week’s Hockeenight PuckCast.

The three of us will be recording the show Monday night starting at 8:15.  Since CT & the Forklift are a bit too weird for the mainstream, you’ll need to register for TalkShoe and note that you’re at least 18 to listen.

We’ll be wrapping the Stanley Cup Playoffs, previewing the Blackhawks at this week’s NHL Draft and looking ahead to what the Hawks might do when free agency commences the following week.  And I’m sure there will be a bevy of other topics as well, including mid-90’s Rangers’ references, Pierre McGuire appreciation, the dumbest thing written by a Blackhawks’ writer/blogger in the past two months (this could be a whole show), who will be the first NHL player to get out-ed for sending pictures (dongaging?)of their penis to women’s cell phones and finally where did it all go wrong for career of Dave Chyzowski?

If you can’t listen live the show will be posted at Hockeenight.com late Monday night / early Tuesday morning.

I’ll also post the audio here on Tuesday.

For those asking about the next edition of TTMI~Radio…. as the current and reigning Blackhawks’ general manager would say…. We’re right on schedule…. But I don’t have a timetable for our return.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Brophey, Peters talk blindside hit; Olsen and Pirri notes

Friday night Evan Brophey became the latest player to add fuel to the blindside head shot debate.  And its likely he’s going to face a multi-game suspension due to a decision he made in the blink of a eye.

NHL observers who recall Joe Thornton’s check on David Perron back on November 4, 2010 would find that as a comparable hit.

Brophey had just stepped out of the penalty box mid-way through the third period with the IceHogs up 3-1.

A diagonal Hamilton pass through the neutral zone put Bulldogs’ forward Hunter Bishop in the direct line of Brophey as rejoined the play.  Brophey took a step or two and launched himself into Bishop.  Brophey is 6-3.  Bishop is 6-foot.

“Obviously it was a bad hit,” a conciliatory Brophey said after the game.

“It was to his head.  And my intentions were to just go shoulder to shoulder.  But it was a blindside hit and I feel bad.  And I’m sorry about that hit.”

Brophey has never been thought of as a dirty player, or one who takes cheap shots while an opponent is in a vulnerable position.  On Friday though, a split-second decision to separate Hunter Bishop from the puck in the neutral zone put Brophey in the eye of the current state of head shots, blind side hits and players putting some respect for each other back into the game.

Conventional hockey thinkers would say Brophey did what he was supposed to do.  Except he overshot his target when striking Bishop’s head.

“It was an unfortunate situation where I had just come out of the box and the puck came to him,” Brophey explained in his own words.   “So, I was trying, like I said, to go shoulder to shoulder.  But I clipped him right in the head, straight on.  You know, I feel bad and I apologize for that.” Read more »

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Interview with Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach

Kyle Beach takes shot Jan 2nd @ OKC

 
Recently I sat down with highly touted, and debated, Hawks prospect Kyle Beach to discuss his progress during his 1st pro season, mending fences with teammate Mathis Olimb and how he responds to his critics (which admittedly, we’ve been one).  The following are excerpts from that interview.

To date, Beach has posted 13 goals and 29 points in 52 games.  Beach does own an IceHogs’ worst minus-17 plus/minus rating. He’s been on the ice for a staggering 30 of 68 even strength goals scored against (44%) on home ice and 40 of 109 (37%) even strength goals scored against Rockford overall.  As mentioned below, he’s been benched on occasion as well as designated a healthy scratch by head coach Bill Peters twice, and as recently as eleven days ago.  The IceHogs have lost 12 of their last 14 games. Beach has 4 goals, 4 assists (-10) in that stretch. When we spoke with him, he was enjoying a season-best stretch of 4 goals, 5 assists over 8 games.

Chris Block:  Halfway through your first pro year, what’s different for you now as opposed to earlier in the season?

Kyle Beach:  I think its just getting used to the play. Getting used to the bigger bodies.  Getting used to having to use your strength; use your size and learn how to protect the puck.  I mean, coming into this level from junior, I mean, I was one of the older guys last year.  I was always one of the bigger guys and now I’m average.  And you gotta learn the little tricks of the trade.  And now pucks are starting to my way, bounces are starting to go my way.  You know, fortunately I’ve been able to go on a little bit of a run here. Read more »

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