Category Archives: News and Notes

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 »

Share

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 »

Share

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

Share

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 »

Share

IceHogs re-sign Svendsen, Farjestad gets Salak; Notes on private prospect mini-camp, Haviland and Team USA

By Chris Block

Word is the NHL is releasing its 2012-13 regular season schedule on Thursday.

–Rockford IceHogs re-signed forward Brandon Svendsen to an AHL contract for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday.

The 5-10, 176 pound Svendsen appeared in 39 games with the IceHogs last season after joining the team on January 10th.  The Minnesota native posted 4 goals and 10 assists for Rockford.  Two of Svendsen’s goals were game-winners and his tally with 43 seconds left in regulation in the season finale on April 14th sent that game to overtime.

Svendsen was signed to a professional try-out contract on January 10th and made his IceHogs debut in Rosemont for a Wednesday matinee game against the Chicago Wolves.

At the time, Jimmy Hayes, Andrew Shaw and Ben Smith were all on recall with the Blackhawks.  Other IceHogs forwards Rostislav Olesz and Kyle Beach were each sidelined with shoulder injuries, creating an opening for Svendsen. Read more »

Share

Hawks re-sign three, part ways with Salak; plus notes on Hawks draft and goaltending, Ed Belfour and Jimmy Waite

By Chris Block

Blackhawks announced they’ve re-signed three restricted free agents today.

Ben Smith, Brandon Bollig and goaltender Carter Hutton all inked new deals.

According to reports, Smith and Bollig each signed two-year contracts.

Bollig’s first year is a two-way deal.  He’ll be paid at a rate of $575,000 in the NHL and $105,000 if he plays in the AHL.  His second year is a one-way contract paying him $575,000.

Ben Smith is also on a two-way contract for 2012-13.  Smith will reportedly earn $550,000 when he’s playing at the NHL level and $105,000 in the minors.  In 2013-14, Smith has a guaranteed contract for $575,000.

Carter Hutton agreed to a one-year, two-way contract.

–On Friday, the Blackhawks placed goaltender Alexander Salak on waivers.  The rest of the league has apparently passed on Salak.  Today it was announced the Blackhawks and Salak agreed to an outright release. Read more »

Share

Blackhawks 2012 preseason schedule; plus notes on this weekend’s events, Haviland, Yawney, Broadhurst, Salak, Fahey and time when the Blackhawks and Lakers almost pulled off a trade for two icons

By Chris Block

Many teams across the NHL, including the Chicago Blackhawks, have released their 2012 preseason schedules since the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup this past Monday night.

Now, Wayne Gretzky’s All-Stars may have a better chance of playing the United Center this September and early October than the Blackhawks, Penguins, Flyers and Red Wings, nonetheless, the schedule is as follows….

On the road:

Tuesday, September 25 @ Philadelphia – 6pm [central]

Saturday, September 29 @ Detroit Red Wings, Joe Louis Arena – 6pm

Friday, October 5 @ Pittsburgh Penguins, Consol Energy Center – 6pm

At the United Center:

Friday, September 28 vs Detroit Red Wings – 7:30pm

Sunday, September 30 vs Pittsburgh Penguins – 6pm

Saturday, October 6 vs Philadelphia Flyers – 7:30pm Read more »

Share

News/notes: Mac Carruth turning pro, upcoming shows

By Chris Block

A few news items tonight but first a couple plugs…

–Our PuckChatter~Radio podcast returns this Tuesday night, May 29th at 8pm central.  We’ll focus on our listener emails on the Blackhawks, IceHogs and prospects.  You can listen live that night at this link.  If you have a question or commentary you would like to contribute, send those to PuckChatter@gmail.com by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.

If you haven’t listened to our interview with Stephen Nelson from this past Tuesday night, I’d urge you to do so.  If you’re interested in the Blackhawks top prospects in Rockford especially this was a great show.  We’ve got a ton of feedback on the interview already, in particular Nelson’s candid account of Ben Smith’s relationship with Jimmy Newcomer, the 19-year old cancer-stricken Rockford area boy who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.  We’ll have more on Ben Smith this coming Tuesday night.

–I’ll be a guest on Hockeenight.com’s PuckCast on Sunday night, June 10th to preview the 2012 NHL Draft taking place June 22-23 in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.  That’s shaping up to what could be a pretty active weekend for the Blackhawks.

Carruth going pro

Several outlets are now reporting the Chicago Blackhawks have signed goaltender Mac Carruth to a three-year entry level contract.  Carruth was selected 191st overall by the Blackhawks in the seventh round of the 2010 Entry Draft.

RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie was first to report Carruth signed to a three-year deal with an NHL cap hit (under the current collective bargaining agreement) of $525,000 per season.  Lavoie has been first to report many prospects signing entry levels in the past.  The contract would be a two-way deal, so he’d make far less, in the neighborhood of $67,000 per while in the AHL or ECHL.  The Blackhawks needed to sign Carruth or he would have been eligible to for Draft re-entry. He can still return to junior hockey for one more season, be it with Portland or should a trade be worked out with another club.

While this deal has not been officially confirmed nor announced by the Blackhawks it should be shortly.  CapGeek.com has different, unconfirmed numbers on Carruth’s deal at this point.  Announcement or not, all signs point to Carruth leaving the Portland Winterhawks major junior organization in the WHL for pro hockey in the Blackhawks’ system. Read more »

Share

Podcast Monday night with Al Cimaglia & Chris Block

By Chris Block

PuckChatter~Radio returns on Monday night at 7pm central with my guest Al Cimaglia of MyFoxChicago.com.

Join us Live at 7pm central over at BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn.

Al and I will be recapping the Blackhawks-Coyotes series and Chicago’s second-consecutive quick playoff exit and analyze what went wrong.

We’ll take a look at all the issues the Blackhawks will be facing this summer, including if an upgrade is needed at the goaltending position.

Also, we will examine post season comments made by the players, Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman.

I’ll give my take on whether help is on its way from Rockford, who of the call-ups from this past season will start 2012-13 back in the minors and which 2011 ‘Hawks draft picks (excluding Andrew Shaw) have the best shot to make the Blackhawks straight out of training camp.

–For those who cannot listen live, Monday night’s show will be archived at our BlogTalkRadio page, here on our site as well as on Itunes.

–If you missed our recent, well-received Rockford IceHogs season-in-review interview series, you can listen to our chats with Ted Dent, Jeremy Morin, Joe Lavin and Kyle Beach here….. Read more »

Share

Blackhawks sign Pete Leblanc to 1-yr deal, IceHogs wrap their season this weekend, tons of news and notes

By Chris Block

On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced they have reached terms on a 1-year contract with center Pete Leblanc.  It will be a two-way (NHL/AHL) agreement.

Leblanc was originally the Blackhawks 7th round selection (186th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  After spending four years at the University of New Hampshire, Leblanc turned pro with the Rockford IceHogs.

The Hamilton, Ontario native has spent the past two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs on AHL contracts as the Blackhawks had elected not to offer Leblanc an NHL contract until now.

In 70 games this season, Leblanc has posted 23 goals and 20 assists for the IceHogs.  Since being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games in early November, Leblanc has scored all 23 of his goals over the most recent 61 contests.

He is currently tied for the team lead in goals scored (23) with Brandon Pirri.  And Leblanc is second on the team in overall points, trailing Pirri by twelve points, with 43.  Leblanc has a plus/minus rating of plus-2.  It was Leblanc’s elevated level of play that caused veteran Brett McLean to slip down the IceHogs depth chart and even to the wing on the fourth line before McLean opted to play out the rest of the season in Switzerland. Read more »

Share