Dec 212017
 

By Chris Block

In the past couple of days, I had a chance to watch Rockford’s most recent three games played Tuesday, Friday and Sunday of last week.

With a slight exception of Friday’s 2-1 shootout loss in San Antonio, the week was as ugly as it looks on paper for Rockford.  After starting December with four consecutive wins, the IceHogs’ offense chilled.

The IceHogs mustered just one goal in each of the three contests, losing all three outings (0-2-0-1).  Rockford’s power play went 0 for 13 and is now statistically the worst (11.8%) in the AHL, and showing no signs of improving.

One positive was the play of Jeff Glass, who got all three starts with J-F Berube getting sidelined by a left leg injury during Rockford’s 7-2 win over Grand Rapids on December 9th.  Berube is not expected back until the second week of January. In the meantime, Collin Delia will serve as the second goalie.

Glass stopped 101 of the 107 shots he faced last week for a 94.4% save percentage and a 1.96 GAA for those three starts.  On the season, Glass is 8-4-1-1 with a .915 save percentage and 2.70 GAA. In his previous four appearances, Rockford had averaged 4.5 goals for Glass and overall on the year they’ve supported him to the tune of 2.9 goals per appearance.

Tuesday December 12 vs Chicago Wolves – IceHogs lose 2-1 on late goal

The week began with a 2-1 loss in Rockford to the suddenly resurgent Chicago Wolves. The IceHogs rival spent much of the first nine weeks of the season mired in last place in the Central Division. All of a sudden the Wolves are back to the .500 mark with a six-game winning streak heading into this Friday night’s rematch with the IceHogs in Rockford.

The Wolves knocked off Rockford with 2 seconds left in regulation last Tuesday.  Tomas Jurco was a late scratch in this one after skating in the warmup. Matheson Iacopelli, the most healthy-scratched ‘Hogs forward this season, took Jurco’s spot in the lineup. Continue reading »

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Oct 152016
 

By Chris Block

I awoke Saturday morning, thinking watching the IceHogs 2016-17 season opener in Cleveland from the night before would be a fun way to start my weekend.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rockford was beaten 2-1 on Friday in Cleveland.  This, the banner-raising night for the former Lake Erie Monsters – the team that also eliminated the IceHogs in the opening round of this past spring’s AHL postseason.

Since, Lake Erie has become the Cleveland Monsters – because, apparently these two entities are no longer ashamed to be associated with the other – and former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion, John Madden has taken over as head coach for the franchise, after Jared Bednar left in August to take over for Patrick Roy in Denver.  It’s the first time Madden has been head coach of anything, by the way.  Ex-Blackhawk Steve McCarthy serves as one of Madden’s assistants as well.

Friday’s 2-1 final didn’t accurately portray the distance between these two teams on this night. Continue reading »

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Mar 282016
 

Labrie_2015May13_IceHogs_ToddReicher_photo_500x407Pierre-Cedric Labrie, IceHogs, photo: Todd Reicher

By Chris Block

Pierre-Cedric Labrie was suspended 1-game by the AHL on Monday, stemming from his actions during a fight in the third period of Friday night’s 5-1 loss at Lake Erie, also Rockford’s 8th consecutive road defeat.

Labrie was assessed a match penalty and game misconduct for his actions during a fight he instigated with Lake Erie forward Josh Anderson.

In the American Hockey League, a match penalty carries an automatic $200.00 fine.

Per Rule 21.1

A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure an opponent in any manner.

In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the President has ruled on the issue.

During the fight, which Labrie instigated, Anderson speared Labrie down to the ice. While wrestling on the ice, with both linesman trying to separating them, Labrie grabbed the helmet off Anderson’s head, proceeding to attempt to strike Anderson in the head repeatedly with his own helmet. Continue reading »

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Mar 212016
 

By Chris Block

Garret Ross was scratched from the Rockford IceHogs lineup this weekend after news spread online of his pending criminal case in DeKalb County.

The Chicago Blackhawks 2012 5th round pick missed IceHogs games Saturday and Sunday after news of the charge surfaced on Twitter and a Chicago sports blog.

Ross, 23, has been accused of one count of Non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, also known as the ‘Revenge Porn’ law.

The law, which only became effective in the State of Illinois on June 1, 2015, is a Class 4 felony, which can carry up to a 1 to 3-year jail sentence.

According to DeKalb County Circuit Court records, the date of Ross’ alleged offense was August 31, 2015.

The news was first broke on Twitter Saturday by Nick Burzych of SportsTownChicago.com. Continue reading »

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Feb 212016
 

By Chris Block

UPDATE ON INJURED ‘HOGS

–Marko Dano was injured in a game against Manitoba Moose this past Wednesday when Moose defenseman Julian Melchiori rode Dano hard into the half wall in the Manitoba end. Dano lost his footing a bit as Melchiori finished his check and Dano crashed hard into the dasher boards. He stayed down for a moment then immediately skated off to the locker room and did not return. That was during the first period of Wednesday morning’s 5-2 IceHogs’ loss.

After Saturday’s game, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent updated Dano’s status.

“[Dano]’s getting better,” said Dent. “He’s day-to-day. Hopefully we’ll see him this week.”

Officially, Dano is out with an upper body injury.

The 21-year old Slovakian winger has just 4 goals in 33 games for the IceHogs and has been largely unimpressive since joining the Blackhawks organization.

–Kyle Cumiskey’s status remains a moderate mystery. The veteran blue liner hasn’t played since November 18th. Cumiskey began the season on the injury list and played in just 5 games in November before being sidelined again. Continue reading »

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Aug 182015
 

By Chris Block

There’s been plenty of change on and off the ice this off season in Chicago.

The Blackhawks have added several new professional and amateur scouts to the Hockey Operations department. There are also some changes in the developmental staff and a few departures of note.

New Goaltending Developmental Coach

When Andrew Allen joined the Buffalo Sabres as their new NHL goaltending coach this summer, it created a coaching vacancy on the Rockford IceHogs’ staff and in the Blackhawks developmental realm.

That hole was filled this week when the organization hired Peter Aubry away from the Lake Superior State Lakers (WCHA) where he coached the Lakers’ defense and helped out with the goaltenders.

Aubry, 38, is a former goaltender who was an assistant on the Lake Superior staff for one season. Prior to that, he was an assistant for Mercyhurst College, his alma mater (1998-02), for three years. Mercyhurst is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Continue reading »

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Aug 172015
 

By Chris Block

With just about a month to go before the Blackhawks open NHL training camp in Chicago, players will be accelerating their off season workout regimens in preparation for the season.

Some players who will partake in the rookie tournament in early September will need to be in peak condition sooner.

With that in mind, the Blackhawks, in cooperation with the Djurgarden hockey club in Stockholm, are conducting a conditioning mini-camp this week in Sweden.

It’s an annual summer tradition now for the club, organized by Barry Smith, the Blackhawks Director of Player Development.

Players expected to take part in this week’s mini-camp include: Continue reading »

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Jul 092015
 

By Chris Block

The annual summer Chicago Blackhawks Prospect and development camp opens this Sunday at Johnny’s IceHouse West in Chicago and continues through Friday July 17th.

The full roster of attendees will be released by the team soon. Virtually all recent Blackhawks unsigned draft picks will participate as well as many current Rockford IceHogs players.

As always, the organization will lure many free agents from the NCAA, junior hockey and Europe for the six day camp.

Goaltending, perhaps, has become the most intriguing position of all now for the team with the front office moving Antti Raanta last month and honoring Anders Nilsson’s trade request last week.

Kyle Hayton (21, St. Lawrence-NCAA), Connor LaCouvee (21, Boston University-NCAA) and Stefan Steen (22, Vaxjo Lakers-Swedish Hockey League) are three goaltenders who have accepted free agent invites and are expected to be in camp on Sunday. Continue reading »

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Jun 282015
 

By Chris Block

For the time being, goaltending is suddenly in short supply once again for the Blackhawks.

On Saturday after completion of the NHL Entry Draft, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman traded goaltender Antti Raanta to the New York Rangers in exchange for minor league forward Ryan Haggerty.

Haggerty, 22, will be a second year pro this coming season. He posted 15 goals and 18 assists in playing all 76 regular season games for the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2014-15. Haggerty notched 2 goals and 4 assists in 14 playoff games for Hartford.

The undrafted right winger out of R.P.I. is a Stamford, CT native and figures to add nice layer of scoring to the IceHogs.

Haggerty is familiar with IceHogs rookie defenseman Michael Paliotta. The due played two seasons together in the United States National Development Team Program. Haggerty is six weeks older than Paliotta. Continue reading »

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Jun 232015
 

[As I noted on Twitter last week, our Summer Blackhawks prospect rankings, originally scheduled for release on Monday, will be delayed due to a family emergency that had me pulled away and out of town last week. I don’t want to commit to a new date just yet, but I am working on it. The draft has taken precedent now. Thanks to all who sent nice notes the past week. I was off the grid for the most part. To those I didn’t get back to, I do appreciate it.]

By Chris Block

Today will kick-off our draft week coverage with the requisite state of the Blackhawks roster business in the wake of the salary cap becoming official for next season.

The Blackhawks currently do not own a 1st round selection in the NHL Draft this Friday in Sunrise, Florida. Chicago occupies just 2 spots over the initial 120 picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. You can expect that to change between now and this weekend, with the Hawks eyeing picks in return for some currently rostered players. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the situation the Blackhawks are in now because of new contracts kicking in, others still to be hammered out and the salary cap being the primary enemy of the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

2015-16 Salary Cap Guidelines Set

NHL released its parameters for the 2015-16 salary cap on Tuesday in conjunction with the National Hockey League Players Association per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new “upper limit” is set at $71.4 million, up $2.4M from the 2014-15 season. Continue reading »

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