Aug 152011
 


A couple IceHogs’ notes from last week.

–After years of trying, the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment [RAVE] Authority finally leased the naming rights to the MetroCentre.

RAVE leased those rights to BMO Harris Bank for a period a five years and a total of $1.3 million, according to a Rockford Register-Star report.

The MetroCentre will now be known as BMO Harris Bank Center.

Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough spoke at the press conference at the MetroCentre on Friday.  Harris is also a prime sponsor of the Blackhawks.  The Rockford deal actually isn’t completely finalized, but a joint memorandum indicated all points will be in place by December 15.

The arena management giant S.M.G. brokered the deal.  S.M.G. has been responsible for booking the MetroCentre since last September.  BMO Harris had already been sponsoring the winter synthetic outdoor ice rink a couple of blocks from the arena at Davis Park, which the RAVE Authority also oversees.

A “grand re-opening” is planned for the IceHogs preseason home opener on September 28.

The ‘BMO’ comes from Bank of Montreal.  I am not making this up – The correct pronunciation on the abbreviation BMO is “Bee-mo”.  So this season, if you take in an IceHogs’ home game, you should say you’re headed to the Bee-Mo, or Bee-mo Harris Bank Center. Continue reading »

Share
Aug 132011
 

Photo: SI.com

We have an update here on Cristobal Huet’s status for the 2011-12 season, the final year on his 4-year $22.5 million contract.

For all intents and purposes, the loan transfer agreement between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Fribourg-Gotteron Dragons was settled a couple of weeks back.  Barring any unforeseen developments or a catastrophic injury situation, Huet will not be a part of the Blackhawks organization again in 2011-12.

The Blackhawks will still pay Huet his $5.625M salary for the 2011-12 season and the goaltender will sign another contract with the Swiss National League team.  The France native signed a one-year deal with Fribourg-Gotteron last August but could not be assigned from the Blackhawks until late September because of NHL waiver requirements.

Huet, who turns 36 on September 3rd, is in Switzerland now and training with Gotteron.  In the past couple of days, he’s also been added to the roster on the Dragons’ web site.  At this point, however, the transfer won’t be official until late September.  The team’s preseason exhibition schedule is already underway. Continue reading »

Share
Aug 122011
 


2010-11 was great year for avid consumers and readers of hockey books.  At this point we’ll take a wait and see approach to measure this coming year’s crop, but there are a few standouts hitting your favorite book outlets before Christmas.

–First, though – Gamers, NHL 12, via EA Sports, for Xbox and PS3 hits stores on Tuesday, Sept 13th.  Steven Stamkos is this year’s cover boy, succeeding Jonathan Toews.  Among the additions to this year’s game are Wayne Gretzky and the Winter Classic game at Heinz Field.

For readers….

Wiley Publications has three new books hitting the market before the end of the year.

Adam Proteau has a book coming out in December.  The title, “Fighting the Good Fight: Why On-Ice Violence is Killing Hockey,” is sure to ruffle some eyebrows.  Proteau is a staunch advocate of eliminating fighting in hockey.  While I’m not really on board with that idea, I am looking forward to this book.  It’s listed at 288 pages, so hopefully it’s an all-encompassing look at the violence issues plaguing the game, not limited to goonery, and possible steps to be taken to curb those, instead of steering it mostly towards fighting.

Former Maple Leafs general manager Gord Stellick also has a book forthcoming on November 8th.  Stellick is now a sports talk radio personality in Toronto.  Stellicktricity promises to be chock full of wit, anecdotal insight on some of the game’s biggest names.   Sounds like it will be similar to Steve Ludzik’s book Been There Done That. — Continue reading »

Share
Aug 082011
 

–We are now 60 days away from opening night of the Blackhawks’ regular season.  The AHL’s too for that matter.

Rockford IceHogs have announced two preseason home games.  Both will be played at the MetroCentre.

Wed Sept 28 vs Chicago Wolves, 7:05pm
Sat Oct 01 vs Peoria Rivermen, 7:05pm

The IceHogs will have one other exhibition game in Milwaukee on September 30th.  That game will be played at the Milwaukee School of Engineering inside the Kern Center.

–Hearing now the loan agreement of Cristobal Huet between the Blackhawks and Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss National League is a done deal. Continue reading »

Share
Aug 022011
 


It appears Cristobal Huet will ride out the final year of his Blackhawks’ contract in Europe again this season.  Huet is apparently in negotiations to rejoin Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland’s National-A league for their 2011-12 season.  There had been reports in French and German newspapers indicating Huet was set to join the team for a second season.  However, a statement released by Fribourg-Gotteron on Tuesday stated that a loan agreement with the Blackhawks is not yet finalized.

Should a deal be worked out, Huet would again be teammates with former Chicago Wolves’ winger Simon Gamache.  He’d also have a new one.  Former Blackhawk defenseman and 2003 2nd round pick (59th overall), Michal Barinka has joined Fribourg-Gotteron after time in the Czech and KHL (Yaroslavl) leagues last season.

Despite a strong 2010-11 campaign, Huet was unable to carry a lackluster Fribourg-Gotteron roster above their 22-22-3-3 record, good enough for an 8th place finish out of 12 teams.  Huet did not play well, nor did he get much help, in the team’s brief 4-games-to-none playoff exit at the hands of eventual Swiss league champion, HC Davos.

Fribourg opens training camp this week.  Their regular season begins on the road, September 9th against Jussi Markkanen, Andy Wozniewski, Glen Metropolit; members of EV Zug. Continue reading »

Share
Aug 012011
 

If, as Rocky Wirtz claims, the Blackhawks are still operating in the red through this past season, the company will have its work cut out for itself this coming year.

As things stand now, the Blackhawks will spend a minimum-projected $77 million on player salaries in 2011-12.  This is about an $8.5 million increase on what was spent in 2010-11, $68.5M.  The Hawks spent $66.0M in 2009-10, including performances bonuses ($4.1M) that went penalized against the Hawks cap the following season.

While the team at this point sits roughly $3M under the $64.3M salary cap ceiling with the roster one player over the 23-man limit, several factors will have the team spending almost $13 million more than the “upper limit.” Continue reading »

Share
Jul 292011
 


–Patrick Sharp
talks contract from Thunder Bay, rehabbing his injured knee.

On negotiations with the Blackhawks on a new contract extension, Sharp said there was nothing new to report.  “I like Chicago.  I want to stay there,” Sharp told TBNewswire.com.  “I’m pretty sure they’d like to keep me as well.  We’ll see how things play out.”

–According to the Blackhawks’ roster page at ChicagoBlackhawks.com, Ben Smith has changed his number from #57 to #28…. Alexander Salak will wear #53…. Sami Lepisto does not have a number at this point… In case you missed numbers on the other new Hawks; Steve Montador is #5… Sean O’Donnell is #6… Daniel Carcillo is #13… Andrew Brunette is #15… and Jamal Mayers is #22. Continue reading »

Share
Jul 272011
 

TheThirdManIn~Radio returns Thursday night, still on BlogTalkRadio, live at a special time of 8pm eastern/7pm central.

Dieter Kurtenbach will join me to discuss all the latest actions, comings and goings in the world of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since its been a couple of weeks since we’ve been on we haven’t had a chance to discuss Michael Frolik’s new contract nor Chris Campoli’s abrupt dismissal.  We’ll discuss Patrick Kane’s wrist injury and rank the peculiar nature of the back story.  And we’ll outline the Hawks’ cap status and what Stan Bowman could have in mind down the line, how he did and a few unrestricted free agents he passed up on.

Getting current, we’ll talk Blackhawks’ goaltending, Ray Emery and how one person’s departure has been severely overlooked.

We’ll take a look at the state of the Blackhawks defense, present and future; this year’s most important Blackhawk, team chemistry, Ted Dent, Kyle Beach and possibly a few listener emails.

The Florida Panthers are Dieter’s new team by a relocation of his own and he’ll give us a read on Panthers fever in South Florida.  And we’ll also peer into the curious case of Brandon Saad.

All this and more on tomorrow night’s (probably today by the time most of you read this) TTMI~Radio.  ITunes users can subscribe or download our shows here.

TheThirdManIn@sbcglobal.net

Share
Jul 262011
 


Jassen Cullimore
will skate in Germany this season.

On Monday, Cullimore signed with the Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).  Cullimore will join the team for training camp next month.  The Roosters’ season begins on September 16.  He joins goaltender Manny Legace and former Rockford IceHogs’ defenseman Prestin Ryan on the Iserlohn team.  Iserlohn [IEC] missed the playoffs last season and finished 12th out of 14 DEL teams.  Cullimore turns 39 in December.

While re-signing Cullimore was never a sure-thing, this does leave an important hole on the IceHogs’ defense.

Right now their top five is Ryan Stanton, Brian Connelly, Joe Lavin, Dylan Olsen and Shawn Lalonde.  With the exception of Stanton, Rockford’s defense, as currently constructed, is at best modest in their responsibilities south of the offensive blue line.  Simon Danis-Pepin is in the mix as well, but his skating was still barely AHL-level in April.  Rockford will need a veteran shut-down defenseman.  Connelly can now be considered a vet on the offensive side, but he can’t mind Lalonde in the defensive zone and you really shouldn’t count on Olsen to do that just yet, at least to start the season.  Continue reading »

Share
Jul 252011
 


Chris Campoli
this past Thursday on his stay in Chicago

I have nothing but great things to say about it.  It didn’t work out contract wise with them, but they’re a first-class organization.  The fans were unbelievable.  The city is absolutely amazing.  I really enjoyed being there and I was very fortunate to be able join the team when I did.”  [Fan 590 Toronto]

He wasn’t asked at all about the failed negotiations with the Blackhawks.  This also a day after the Hawks officially cut Campoli loose on the UFA market.  The Chicago comments came as Campoli was asked to summarize or compare each place he’s played thus far in the NHL.  Simply a waste of time, a terrible interview.

Martin Lapointe, who’s served as a pro scout for the past two seasons, is no longer listed in that, or any other capacity on the Blackhawks official web site.

In case you hadn’t heard…. Continue reading »

Share