Category Archives: News and Notes

Coaching Changes: Blackhawks relieve assistants Ben Simon, Steve Poapst of their duties in Rockford

By Chris Block

In addition to the breaking news today that goaltending coach Stephane Waite is leaving the Chicago Blackhawks for the same position with the Montreal Canadiens, (this after last week when Stan Bowman said he expected Waite to stay with the Hawks) we can also confirm further coaching changes going on within the organization.

There has been a shuffling of the deck on the Rockford IceHogs coaching staff after the team failed to qualify for the AHL postseason for the third consecutive season.

Following up on some speculation we heard back in early May regarding the Rockford IceHogs coaching staff, the Chicago Blackhawks official site has removed the listing and profiles of Ben Simon and Steve Poapst, both assistant coaches for the IceHogs this past season.

We can confirm independently both Simon and Poapst have been released by the Blackhawks and are seeking new employment.

Ted Dent’s profile, as well that of goaltending coach Andrew Allen, are still listed on the Blackhawks web site.  Dent’s two-year contract expired with the conclusion of this season but it would appear he’s staying.  Dent was present in Boston at the Cup deciding Game 6 and for the parade and championship rally in Chicago on June 28th.

At this point, there has been no official word from the Blackhawks on these releases or who will be replacing the coaching roles vacated by Steve Poapst and Ben Simon. Read more »

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Update on Stephen Johns, BMO $1.5M upgrades, Saad All-Rookie team, Danault, Karlsson, Waite and Stan and USA Hockey

By Chris Block

Some news and notes to kick off what appears will be a very eventful weekend.

–We’ll have full, pick-by-pick coverage on this site of the Blackhawks’ draft selections this Sunday from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Chicago currently owns picks in the last pick in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds.

Their 2nd and 3rd round selections were dealt to Winnipeg at the trade deadline in 2012 in exchange for Johnny Oduya.  The Blackhawks also owned extra picks before dealing them for Michal Handzus (San Jose’s original pick in the 4th round reacquired from CHI) and Henrik Karlsson (originally Ottawa’s 7th round pick).

–If you missed the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade and rally on Friday , it will be rebroadcasted tonight (Saturday) on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago at 7pm.

Brandon Saad was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team on Saturday.

Saad joins Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau (Calder Trophy winner for best rookie), Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher (a Calder Trophy finalist as well as Saad), goalie Jake Allen of St. Louis and defenseman Jonas Brodin of Minnesota and Justin Schultz of Edmonton.

Interesting to note, yet not surprising considering he wasn’t a Calder finalist, that Nail Yakupov, who led all NHL rookies in scoring this season with 17 goals and 14 assists was left off the All-Rookie team.  That doesn’t happen often.  Read more »

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IceHogs playoff chances and scenarios; Dylan Olsen injury; notes on Drew Leblanc, Stephen Johns and more

By Chris Block

First off, a quick note:

I don’t have any shows of my own planned at the moment, but I can announce that I will be joining the HockeeNight PuckCast this Sunday night, April 21st.  We’ll be discussing the Blackhawks as they get primed for postseason; either a Rockford IceHogs post-mortem or playoff preview and if maybe even more 1960’s and 70’s northeast professional wrestling as we did last time I did the PuckCast.

–Nashville Predators’ winger Kevin Henderson will be making his NHL debut tonight against the Blackhawks at the UC.  Back in 2007, Henderson was an invitee to the Blackhawks summer prospect camp.  At that camp, Henderson skated on Jonathan Toews’ line.  The summer ’07 camp was the one just prior to Toews and Patrick Kane’s rookie seasons.

DYLAN OLSEN UPDATE

The Blackhawks 2009 first round pick suffered a foot injury on April 7th in a game against the Peoria Rivermen in Rockford.  Olsen blocked a shot off his left foot during the second period of that game and has not played since.

Olsen was back skating with the IceHogs this week and could possibly play in the regular season finale tomorrow night in Cedar Park, Texas.  Olsen has been ruled out of tonight’s game in San Antonio, however.

Tonight, Rockford will go with the following defense pairs: Ryan Stanton-Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck-Steve Montador, Joe Lavin-Shawn Lalonde.

ROCKFORD ICEHOGS – It all comes down to this…

The Rockford IceHogs (40-31-2-1, .561, 83 points) wrap up their regular season this weekend with two games in the Lone Star State.

Tonight, Rockford will visit the San Antonio Rampage (29-36-2-7, .453).  The Rampage (14th in the west) are the AHL affiliate to the Florida Panthers. Read more »

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Blackhawks re-acquire Michal Handzus, send Brandon Bollig back to Rockford; More roster notes

MichaelHandzus_Flow

By Chris Block

Chicago Blackhawks on Monday acquired center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth round selection in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

In 28 games this season with the Sharks, Handzus posted 1 goal and 1 assist.  He was a minus-9 while playing mostly third and fourth line minutes for the Sharks.

The pick the Blackhawks sent San Jose had originally belonged to the Sharks.  At the 2012 Draft, the Hawks and Sharks swapped 4th round picks, so the Sharks could move up and the Hawks could pick up an additional 7th round selection.  That later pick, obtained from San Jose, originally belonged to Tampa Bay which the Sharks obtained in a trade involving center Dominic Moore.  Chicago used the additional 2012 7th round pick (191st overall) to select goaltender Brandon Whitney of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), the same team Phillip Danault played for at the time.

Handzus turned 36 last month.  This will be his second stint with the Blackhawks organization.  He is now the second-oldest Blackhawk behind Jamal Mayers, who is 38.

Michal Handzus previously spent the 2006-07 season with the Blackhawks, appearing in only 8 games in October of 2006 before knee surgery ended his season.  Read more »

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Joakim Nordstrom to join IceHogs this week, more prospects on the way; update on Olesz, Montador on waivers

JoakimNordstrom_AIK_JesperZerman_seJoakim Nordstrom, photo credit: jesperzerman.se

By Chris Block

With the European leagues, U.S. collegiate hockey and Canadian junior hockey seasons winding down and beginning each of its playoffs, several Chicago Blackhawks prospects will soon arrive in Rockford, Illinois to cap off their seasons with a trial showcase at the American Hockey League level.

As we noted Sunday on Twitter, the first of those prospects will arrive in Rockford later this week.

Joakim Nordstrom, who the Blackhawks selected with the final pick (90th overall) in the 3rd round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to join the Rockford IceHogs by the end of the week. Read more »

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IceHogs release Lebda, Sign Four; Karlsson Visa Issue Delays Debut; How Carter Hutton’s season stacks up; more Rockford news and notes

By Chris Block

On Friday, the Rockford IceHogs officially released defenseman Brett Lebda from his second professional try-out contract with the club.

Lebda had been a healthy scratch in 5 of Rockford’s last 8 contests.  The Buffalo Grove native and member of the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings had appeared in 27 games for the IceHogs, posting 11 assists to go with a minus-12 plus/minus rating, worst on the team.

The IceHogs would have had to sign Lebda to a standard-player contract by February 17th or release him.

Lebda has never before played overseas but back in October he told us he had interest from a few teams in Europe and he would reconsider those if nothing presented itself after the NHL lockout ended.

MCARDLE SIGNS CONTRACT

Just three games into his PTO, Kenndal McArdle agreed to a contract with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of this season on Wednesday.

The Florida Panthers’ 2005 first round (#20th overall) draft pick has one assist in the three games since joining the IceHogs.  He was also involved in the brawl with Grand Rapids last Saturday, getting ejected for a Third Man In violation.

McArdle played 9 games in the NHL last season with Winnipeg.  So far he’s taking the spot on Martin St. Pierre’s left wing that was vacated by Brandon Saad. Read more »

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AHL drops hammer on IceHogs; Carter Hutton injury confirmed, Ben Smith update

By Chris Block

The American Hockey League dealt the IceHogs a significant blow on Tuesday for Rockford’s part in this past Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Rockford was issued 11-game suspensions in all, while Grand Rapids will have center Louis-Marc Aubry suspended for 6 games and right wing Triston Grant suspended for 1 game.

Rob Flick received a mandatory 6-game suspension for being the first IceHogs’ player to jump off the bench and get involved in the brawl.  Aubry’s suspension matched Flick’s for being identified as the first Grand Rapids player to jump off the Griffins’ bench.

The newest IceHogs player, left winger Kenndal McArdle (who was playing in just his second game as a member of the IceHogs in Saturday’s night’s contest) was suspended 1 game.  McArdle was issued a game misconduct on Saturday night for jumping off the bench and being the Third Man In an ongoing fight.

Wade Brookbank was also suspended for one game, as was Kyle Beach, whose actions precipitated the Griffins leaving their bench.

IceHogs head coach Ted Dent was also suspended two games.  Dent will serve his suspension this weekend when the IceHogs host the Chicago Wolves on Friday and then the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday night.

The IceHogs have now accumulated 25-games in suspensions over the first 41 games of the season.  The list: Andrew Shaw (7), Rob Flick (6), Shawn Lalonde (3), Kyle Beach (2), Ted Dent (2), Dylan Olsen (2), Wade Brookbank (2), Kenndal McArdle (1).

As noted on the site yesterday, Flick served the first game of his six-game suspension when he was held out of Monday’s 6-3 loss to Texas by the league.  Flick will be eligible to return on February 8th at Peoria.

All the details and videos of the Rockford-Grand Rapids brawl are here. Read more »

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Blackhawks trade for goalie Karlsson, send him to Rockford; Carter Hutton uncertainty; Flick could get minimum of 6 games

By Chris Block

On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks traded a 7th round draft pick in 2013 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for 29-year old goaltender Henrik Karlsson.

The Stockholm, Sweden native served as Miikka Kiprusoff’s backup in Calgary during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.  Over that span, Karlsson appeared in 26 games posting a record of 5-9-8 with a 90.5% save percentage and a 2.79 goals against average.  Karlson was 1-4-2 last season in Calgary.  His only victory came on the final day of the regular season and he posted a 3.17 GAA and 90.0% save percentage in his nine appearances overall.

The Blackhawks then immediately assigned Karlsson to their AHL affiliate, Rockford IceHogs.  The pick used by Chicago general manager Stan Bowman in this deal is one he had previously acquired from Ottawa on December 2, 2011 when the Blackhawks traded forward Rob Klinkhammer (who was struggling mightily in Rockford at the time) to the Senators for a 7th round pick.

The 6 foot 6 inch Henrik Karlsson is expected to be in Rockford this week and suited up for the IceHogs next game on Friday when Rockford plays host to the Chicago Wolves.

We’ll know more soon, but it seems as though there is concern Rockford has an immediate need for a dependable AHL goaltender.

Karlsson joins Carter Hutton, 27, and Alec Richards, 25, on the IceHogs roster. Read more »

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Details of the Brawl of 1/19/13

By Chris Block

There is still a lot more to come from Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins before a sellout crowd of 6,219 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. [Video of the brawl is posted again at the bottom of this post]

230 penalty minutes in all were dealt out in Saturday’s game.  202 of those came as result of the brawl.

Frustrations from an IceHogs perspective had boiled over at the 11:58 mark of the second period after Grand Rapids forward Landon Ferraro scored a power play goal to put the visiting team ahead 6-3.

The IceHogs had been assessed five-straight minor penalties by the officials in the first eleven minutes of the second period alone and the Griffins had capitalized on two of those opportunities with the man-advantage.  To that point in the contest, Grand Rapids was 3 for 6 on the power play.  Rockford had just one power play chance to that point and it resulted in a Dylan Olsen goal, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period.

No one on the Rockford side after the game was entirely blaming the refs for the lopsided power plays going in Grand Rapids favor.  The IceHogs players and coach admitted most of the calls against them were warranted.  Although, it was the hooking call referee Joe Sullivan gave Terry Broadhurst that gave Grand Rapids the power play that Landon Ferraro would use to put his team up 6-3 that had the IceHogs livid with the officiating. Read more »

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Rockford hosting Peoria tonight; IceHogs PIM woes continue, Ted Dent considering benching players for bad penalties

By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs (19-17-1-1) are hosting the Peoria Rivermen (17-17-2-2) tonight at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

It’ll be the fourth of twelve meetings between the two clubs this season.  The Rivermen have been victorious twice.  Rockford defeated Peoria 5-4 in a seesaw affair when the teams last met on November 21st in Rockford.  The IceHogs got off to a quick start when Adam Clendening scored his 3rd goal on the campaign 56 seconds in.  Rockford went up 2-0 eleven minutes later when Brandon Saad scored an unassisted short-handed goal.  Peoria though responded by notching three unanswered even-strength tallies in just under six minutes and led 3-2 heading into the first intermission.  Between periods Ted Dent changed some lines around and altered his top two defense pairings, pairing Nick Leddy with Clendening and Ryan Stanton with Klas Dahlbeck.  The rest of the game was controlled by Rockford.  Martin St. Pierre tied the game late in the second period and two power play goals from Jeremy Morin sealed the victory. Read more »

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