Category Archives: News and Notes

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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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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