Category Archives: News and Notes

Rockford IceHogs look to make franchise history

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By Chris Block

The IceHogs return home on Wednesday night from last week’s 2-1 road trip when they host the Charlotte Checkers at the BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford.

Rockford closes out its regular season this week with three home games. They’ll welcome the Chicago Wolves on Friday, and the Toronto Marlies on Saturday night to wrap the season with 3 games in 4 nights.

Ted Dent’s team has solidified a playoff spot and now eyes a chance to win the Midwest division, currently led by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. The IceHogs failed to qualify for postseason the past four years. They haven’t won a playoff game since Game 5 of the Conference semi-final series with the Chicago Wolves in 2008. Rockford is 0-10 in AHL playoff contests since that Game 5 in 2008. The AHL record for consecutive playoff losses is 12, set by the Buffalo Bisons in the 1950s.

Grand Rapids is one point up on Rockford. They close out the season with a 3-in-3 starting Thurday; three winnable games at Lake Erie and then home for a back-to-back set against Charlotte. Grand Rapids also currently holds the first tie-breaker, regulation wins, 42 to the IceHogs’ 41. So, Rockford will need help from Lake Erie and/or Charlotte in addition to picking up a minimum of 5 of 6 points if they’re to have a shot at jumping Grand Rapids and winning the division. Read more »

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Who cleared Kane, and at what risk?

By Chris Block

Patrick Kane returns tonight for the Blackhawks, seven weeks to the day since surgery to repair his fractured left collarbone. Of course, Kane’s return coincides with Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final series in Nashville against the Predators.

Original projections for Kane’s return were pegged by Blackhawks lead medical physician Dr. Michael Terry at 10 to 12 weeks.

Kane was medically cleared to return to action on Monday, less than 7 weeks since the surgery.

But who cleared Kane?

The Blackhawks released a short, and peculiar statement on Monday that was worded quite interestingly, evidently by Terry himself.

The following statement was issued [Monday April 13th] by Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry:

Patrick Kane suffered a broken left clavicle on February 24, and underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture on February 25. Patrick has been working extremely diligently with his rehabilitation and has recently returned to full-contact practice without any difficulty.

After discussions with Patrick and the team, and examining Patrick today, we collectively feel it is appropriate, with minimal risk, for him to return to full participation.”

That’s an incredible final sentence, there. Read more »

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Blackhawks-Predators Quarter-Final Schedule

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Rockford IceHogs Media Day Stuff; TVR debut now imminent, Broadhurst sets date, Keith Seabrook set to play, Power play numbers

By Chris Block

A few news items here coming out of Tuesday’s Rockford IceHogs weekly media day huddles.

Alex Broadhurst Targeting Return

Right now, Alex Broadhurst is aiming for March 21st or 22nd as his return from the broken left arm he suffered on Black Wednesday evening back in November. Broadhurst suffered the break to the bone just above his left elbow on a hit from Iowa Wild forward Curt Gogol.

Broadhurst, who turned 22 on March 7th, had a forgettable start to this 2014-15 season. He was healthy scratched 5 times in 20 games and when he did dress, Broadhurst skated a lot of fourth line minutes. In 15 games, the center has 0 goals and 2 assists.

While an injury like that is never welcome, there is some good that came out of it.

Broadhurst on Tuesday said that he’s now in the best physical condition of his life as he’s had nothing to do for the past two months but workout and train for his return. The time away could be good for him in another sense in that his auspicious beginning to the season can be long forgotten now. Read more »

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Rockford’s goal troubles: Numbers and numbers; Mark McNeill says no more raking leaves

Hartman_Ryan_2014Dec30_IceHogsRyan Hartman – Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs Hockey


By Chris Block

Thanks to a terrific start to the season, the Rockford IceHogs still sit atop the MidWest Division a little past the halfway point of the AHL season.

But the past six weeks have been a struggle for the IceHogs. The team’s offense some nights is almost non-existent and the gap between Rockford and nearest contenders, Milwaukee and Chicago has narrowed.

When the IceHogs win they’re averaging 3.7 goals for versus 1.7 against.

In Rockford’s 19 losses (23-13-4-2), they’ve scored just 1.4 goals per game, while the goaltenders allowed 2.9 against.

“We got four goals [Friday, a 4-0 home ice win over Iowa], which was nice,” said IceHogs’ coach, Ted Dent.

“We haven’t had four goals in a long time. So, we’ll just keep chipping away at it.”

Since Thanksgiving, Rockford has put up 4 goals or more just 4 times. That represents a total of 22 games in which the IceHogs have averaged 2.09 goals for per game. Rockford’s record since Thanksgiving is 8-9-4-1. Two of those wins came via the shootout. Read more »

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Stephen Johns returns only to be sidelined again; Dent says 2-3 weeks, Johns talks prior injury

Johns_Stephen_2015Jan19_IceHogsPicStephen Johns (#4) battles Jeremy Welsh in front of Scott Darling Monday Jan 19
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs

 

By Chris Block

Rockford had only begun to realize how much they missed the steady and physical play of Stephen Johns when injury struck the rookie defenseman again on Monday.

Now the IceHogs will again be without their big rookie blue liner for a stretch.

Johns will miss the next 2 to 3 weeks, according to the team.

“When you can’t do something you love and you enjoy every day, it hurts and it’s frustrating.”

Those were Stephen Johns’ words this past Saturday night, having just completed his second game back from a concussion that kept him out of action for seven weeks.

Now, a left knee injury, suffered Monday afternoon in a game against the Chicago Wolves, will force Johns to miss more time. Read more »

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Ryan Hartman suspension details, Mark McNeill gets Nordstrom’s spot at AHL All-Star Game, Blackhawks add member to Equipment Staff

By Chris Block

RYAN HARTMAN SUSPENDED

American Hockey League on Wednesday suspended IceHogs forward Ryan Hartman for 1 game as result of a high-sticking incident in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves.

The incident took place at 18:44 of the first period along the half wall in the IceHogs’ zone nearest the Rockford bench.

Hartman was looking to play a puck off the wall when Wolves’ forward Colin Fraser converged. Hartman appeared to be looking to lift Fraser’s stick, but what wound up happening was the blade of Hartman’s stick forked Fraser in the face.

There was no immediate penalty called by referees Jarrod Ragusin or Tom Chmielewski (who referred the Blackhawks-Coyotes game in Chicago the next night) as play continued and Fraser returned to the Wolves’ bench. Read more »

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Site notes: Mid-terms and Rankings; IceHogs injury updates [Updated]

By Chris Block

Just a couple quick notes ahead of the weekend.

Rockford IceHogs (21-12-3-1) will reach the halfway point of their season tonight when they host the Milwaukee Admirals inside the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. The ‘Hogs are 7 points up on Milwaukee in the standings, though the Admirals do hold three games in hand on Rockford. Ted Dent’s team leads its division (3rd in the conference) currently and remain 6 points up on both Grand Rapids and the Chicago Wolves, though each of those groups have multiple games in hand on the Hogs too.

Tonight is the back-end of a home and home set. Rockford lost 4-2 in Milwaukee last night. Phillip Danault and T.J. Brennan were the IceHogs’ goal scorers. Scott Darling was pulled in the second period after allowing the 4th goal against 29 shots, but the defense in front of him on a couple of those goals offered little assistance.

Stephen Johns (concussion) continues to be sidelined since being injured on a Stephane Veilleux hit on November 26th in Rockford. That was the same night Curt Gogol broke Alex Broadhurst’s arm when Gogol took a run at Broadhurst low in the IceHogs’ end. Read more »

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More on Jeremy Morin’s AHL “Conditioning” loan, his trade demand, possibilities; Rockford injury, coaching updates

By Chris Block

Jeremy Morin agreed to a maximum 14-day conditioning loan with the Rockford IceHogs for the dual purpose of getting the 23-year old left winger some game time and showcase the beleaguered now 5-year pro for a potential trade.

Morin had been designated a healthy scratch for 8 consecutive games leading up to the conditioning loan. He last played on November 20th in Calgary.

Rockford embarks on a 6-game road trip starting in Milwaukee tonight (Dec 10th). Thus it’ll be 19 days between games for Morin. He is expected to be in the IceHogs’ lineup tonight.

Should Morin remain with the Blackhawks’ organization for the duration of this loan, he’d have to be recalled from the loan on December 22nd, the day after Rockford’s road trip concludes. The Blackhawks can also recall him at any time before then.

There’s some interesting aspects to this move.

Morin’s agent, Pat Brisson (who also represents Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) went to Stan Bowman in the middle of last week essentially requesting a trade on behalf of his client. Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times reported on Sunday (Dec 7) Morin’s side presented it as a “play me or trade me” type of proposal. Read more »

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A look at Rockford atop AHL at quarter mark; Ted Dent comments on PIMs, fighting: more on Blackhawks Analytics position

2014Nov22_Schnell_Liambas_Fight_Pic_IceHogsRyan Schnell (38) fights Milwaukee’s Michael Liambas Nov 22 in Rockford
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs have rolled off four consecutive wins, all without their captain Joakim Nordstrom, veteran goaltender Michael Leighton and leading scorer Mark McNeill. The latter three wins also came without Adam Clendening and Phillip Danault.

In the process, the depleted IceHogs grabbed three wins from divisional foes this past weekend to solidify Rockford with the best record (14-4-0-1, .763) in the AHL. It started with 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win over Iowa on Friday.

The only games Rockford has lost this season have been to Milwaukee (3 times) and Rochester. Their shootout competition loss came in Toronto on October 19th, after 67 minutes of scoreless hockey.

The IceHogs snapped an 8-game losing streak, stretching back to last season, when they finally defeated the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday night in Rockford by a 3-2 score in what may have been the best 60 minutes of hockey Rockford’s been a part of all season. Read more »

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