Category Archives: News and Notes

Update on Ben Smith injury; Saad’s Huge Weekend, New Montador concussion could open door for a prospect

By Chris Block

In a true case of unfortunate timing, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith was injured while playing for the IceHogs in Rockford on Friday night.  The team’s leading goal scorer injured his hand and missed Saturday night’s game in Milwaukee due to the injury.

It is not known at this point how long Smith will be out of action.

Over his last 25 games, Smith has posted 12 goals, 12 assists to go with a plus-5 rating.  His season total of 15 goals are one better than that of Martin St. Pierre, the IceHogs overall leading scorer.

To follow up on a Twitter post I put out on early Saturday evening, at this point it now appears Ben Smith will not need surgery on his injured hand.

Smith was injured during Friday night’s 5-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.

A source with knowledge of the injury had learned on Saturday that Smith’s injury may require surgery.

However, late Saturday night a separate person close to the situation indicated that Smith’s hand won’t require surgery.

Smith was involved in a fight late in the second period Friday night with Griffins’ defenseman Brennan Evans.  Read more »

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Ted Dent says some supposed NHL guys not pulling their weight; Blackhawks brass forcing more lineup changes; Tonight’s game preview

By Chris Block

Riding a four game losing streak (0-3-1-0), the Rockford IceHogs drive 93 miles northeast tonight where they’ll visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center to face off with the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time in six days.

The lone point Rockford has picked up in those four contests came in a 4-3 overtime loss in Milwaukee this past Friday.  Rockford trailed the Admirals 3-1 midway through that game until goals by Brandon Pirri and captain Martin St. Pierre forced an overtime session.  However, a breakdown in the IceHogs end resulted in Kevin Henderson surprising Carter Hutton with the game-winning shot a minute and forty-five seconds in to send the IceHogs back to Rockford with only the one consolation standings point.

Although the IceHogs (13-12-1-1) have lost both of their games since dropping first-place to the Griffins in Grand Rapids on December 9th, that one point earned in Milwaukee has been enough force Rockford back into a tie with Grand Rapids for the top spot in the Midwest Division.  The Griffins has also lost their past two games since moving into first in the division.  Grand Rapids hosts the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena.

The Midwest division race is as tight as it could possibly be, now a third of the way through the 76 game American Hockey League season.  One point separates last-place Milwaukee (12-11-2-1, 27 points) from Grand Rapids and Rockford in the top spot. Read more »

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Injuries starting to pile up for IceHogs; Blackhawks prospects Morin and Lavin out of action; Update on Olesz

By Chris Block

Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Rockford IceHogs.

While the team had been able to avoid everything but a few nagging injuries here and there, the IceHogs lost another key player this weekend.  For how long though, we’re not yet certain.

Jeremy Morin missed Sunday’s loss at Grand Rapids with an undisclosed injury.  Not sure of the extent of the damage other than the IceHogs saying Morin was “dinged up.”  Morin got the worse end of a third period scrap with Chicago Wolves’ defenseman and higher end Vancouver Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton on Saturday night.  Though Morin did make a return for the game’s final moments he was unavailable for Sunday’s road contest with the Griffins.  Here is a link to video of the Morin-Connauton fight from Dec 8, Morin’s first fight of the season.

Morin has been held without a point in the last three IceHogs games he’s suited up for.  Over his last 15 games, Morin has 7 goals and 2 assists to go along with a minus-2 rating.  He’s second on the IceHogs with 9 goals total on the season, one behind team-leader Ben Smith.

–Defenseman Joe Lavin broke his right wrist in a game at Lake Erie on Nov 24th.  The injury should sideline Lavin for 5-6 weeks, putting Lavin on schedule to return sometime after Christmas.  Lavin was still wearing a cast this weekend. Read more »

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5 unanswered goals erase Hogs slow start in Charlotte

By Chris Block

Rockford continued its recent road winning ways with a 5-2 come from behind win before a crowd of 6,549 in Charlotte on Saturday night.  The IceHogs handed the Charlotte Checkers, the second-place team in the Western Conference, their 6th loss of the season though it was Charlotte’s 4th in 7 games in its home rink.

With the team’s hottest goal scorer, Andrew Shaw, out of the lineup serving a one game, and most recent, suspension Rockford looked to its big guns to pull them out of another big whole the team dug itself early on Saturday night.

The IceHogs got unanswered goals from Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and two from captain Martin St. Pierre.  The captain, recognized as one of the slickest set-up men in the AHL, also fell an assist shy of registering the Gordie Howe Hat Trick on Saturday.

Rockford has now strung four consecutive road wins together after starting the season 1-4-0-1 on opposing ice surfaces.

And, for the first time this season, the IceHogs sit two games above the .500 mark at 11-9-0-1 with their win in Charlotte. Read more »

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Andrew Shaw suspended 1 game for hit on Sterling; more details

By Chris Block

On Friday, the American Hockey League suspended Rockford IceHogs winger Andrew Shaw for 1 game in response to a boarding infraction Shaw committed in Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Wolves.

Shaw was called for boarding by official Trent Knorr at the 15:45 mark of the second period when Shaw left his feet while finishing a check on Chicago forward Brett Sterling deep in the Wolves’ zone.

Shaw’s point of contact on Sterling appeared to be a shoulder or arm directly to the side of Sterling’s head.  Sterling went down and was shaken up for a few moments but stayed in the game.  Play continued on while the Wolves maintained possession of the puck.

During the delayed penalty call, Andrew Shaw retreated to the Rockford IceHogs’ bench where he walked behind the bench where the coaches stand, where he picked up a folding chair.  Shaw appeared to be contemplating throwing the chair onto to the ice when he was stopped by one of the team trainers. Read more »

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AHL suspends Lalonde 3 games for hit on Kampfer

By Chris Block

On Monday, the AHL announced its decision to suspend Rockford IceHogs third-year defenseman Shawn Lalonde 3 games for his actions in last Friday (Nov 16) night’s game against the Houston Aeros in Rockford.

Lalonde’s suspension is result of an illegal check to the head on Aeros’ defenseman Steven Kampfer.  The incident took place at 9:40 of the second period in Friday night’s game while the Aeros were on the power play.

There was no penalty called on the play by either of the two referees, Joe Sullivan and Jean Hebert.

The hit temporarily knocked Kampfer unconscious and Kampfer was eventually stretchered off the ice and taken to a Rockford hospital where he was evaluated and released the next day. Read more »

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The Rockford Files: Dent on the Jimmy Hayes Center Experiment, Notes on Beach, Saad’s return, Bad starts, the offense and more

By Chris Block

Each week from now until the end of the season we will bring you a first-hand account of the latest news, developments and analysis of this season’s Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Conflict of Interests?

“Well, we’re 1-3.  So, that’s my assessment.”

That was IceHogs coach Ted Dent this past Saturday night after a 4-2 loss at home when asked to give his assessment of Jimmy Hayes’ performance in the four games after the decision was made to move Hayes from his regular spot at right wing, over to the center ice position.

Eight games into the season, the edict came down from Chicago Blackhawks management that they wanted to see how Hayes would do at center.

Little forward thinking went into this decision either, apparently.  Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith was quickly dispatched to Rockford to go over film and one-on-one instruction over three days with Hayes, who admittedly hadn’t played the center position since he was a kid.

Not during training camp.  Not over the summer when Hayes was a part of a group of 12 top Blackhawks prospects who traveled to Sweden for a five-day August mini-camp.  No, during the last week of October was when the IceHogs coach received word he was to play Hayes at center until further notice.

“No, I haven’t played there in a long time,” Jimmy Hayes said last week. Read more »

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IceHogs carry 4-game win streak into this weekend; Dent on sitting Dylan Olsen; Leddy, Saad injury update and tons of news and notes

By Chris Block

After getting off to an auspicious 0-3-0-1 start to the 2012-13 season, the IceHogs rolled off 4 straight wins over eight days last week to vault themselves into second place in the AHL’s Midwest Division and two points behind the first-place Chicago Wolves.

Those same Wolves will travel up Interstate 90 tonight to face the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm.

In the only other two meetings between the two teams this season, the Wolves bested the IceHogs back on opening weekend, both times at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.  The Wolves begin their annual November road trip with tonight’s game.  They’ll be on the road for their next five games due to the annual circus stint at Allstate Arena.

Chicago defeated the IceHogs 1-0 in a shootout on October 13th and then again 5-3 the following day. Eddie Lack was in goal for the Wolves both nights and is expected to start between the pipes again for Chicago tonight. Read more »

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An update

By Chris Block

Quickly checking in with a few notes….

First off, there hasn’t been a podcast yet this week because I’ve been playing sick and have mostly lost my voice.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do one over the weekend, if not then this Monday.

This weekend I’ll begin previewing the 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs by profiling each individual player.  I’ll also have a new post up sometime on Friday discussing our interview last week with IceHogs’ broadcaster Mike Peck.  I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t heard it yet.

The IceHogs will officially open their training camp on September 30th.  The season begins with a weekend set in Rosemont, Illinois on October 13-14 against the Chicago Wolves.

Lastly, I participated in a roundtable Q&A with several others that should be posted over at the newly-launced TheCommittedIndian.com shortly.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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Rockford IceHogs open 2012-13 season in Chicago

By Chris Block

The American Hockey League released its 2012-13 regular season schedule on Friday.

For the Rockford IceHogs, the 76-game jaunt begins on Saturday October 13th at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Wolves.  The two teams will face off again in the same venue the next afternoon.

Rockford’s home opener takes place Saturday October 20th in the first of a two-game weekend set with the Charlotte Checkers at BMO Harris Bank Center.

You can download a PDF of the Rockford IceHogs schedule here.  You can also view it here.

The IceHogs’ regular season home finale comes on Friday April 12th against the visiting Chicago Wolves.

Six of the IceHogs final eight regular season games will come on the road, including their final three.

Rockford completes the regular season in Austin, Texas on Saturday April 20th.

This season’s slate also comes with a neutral site game to be played on Sunday November 18th at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The IceHogs opponent will be the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Read more »

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