Category Archives: News and Notes

Rockford open season with 2-1 loss on Banner Unveiling Night in Cleveland

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. Read more »

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Labrie suspended for Friday night fighting antics; Info on availability of Blackhawks top 4 Swedish blue line prospects

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. Read more »

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Blackhawks prospect status in limbo, accused of Revenge Porn

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. Read more »

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Update on Dano, Injured IceHogs; Hartman Benched in Crunch Time, Bickell in Cruise Control

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. Read more »

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Summer Hockey Ops Changes: Blackhawks increase scouting staff, Hold steady on analytics

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. Read more »

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Blackhawks hold mini-camp in Sweden this week; Artemi Panarin’s first team workouts

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: Read more »

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News on Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp

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. Read more »

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Hawks say goodbye to Antti Raanta; Now look to solve depth goaltending puzzle again

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. Read more »

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Salary Cap and Reality of Off Season Now Set; A look at Blackhawks position and options

[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. Read more »

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Rockford IceHogs look to make franchise history

IceHogs_LockerRoom_2014_100214

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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