Category Archives: News and Notes

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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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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AHL deals suspensions for Sunday’s brawl, Man who threw first punch gets just 1 game; Plus Olesz injured, IceHogs playoff situation

By Chris Block

The American Hockey League office dealt out discipline on Tuesday in response to Sunday’s bench-clearing brawl incident in Milwaukee between the Rockford IceHogs and hosting Admirals.

In all, four players received a total of 10 games as penalty for their involvement in Sunday’s brawl.  Rockford got the short-hand with two of its players each getting three games while Milwaukee got a total of four.  The two teams and respective coaches were fined undisclosed amounts as well.

IceHogs center Rob Flick received 3 games for essentially instigating the incident when he skated over to Milwaukee’s crease and engaged with Admirals’ goaltender Jeremy Smith while the two teams were lining up for a face off in the neutral zone.  Smith got a 1 game suspension.

Smith and Flick appeared to be exchanging words before Smith took a sip from his water bottle and turned around to find Flick approaching the top of his crease.  At that point Smith took the first swing with his blocker at the head of Flick and the two immediately began fighting before the puck had ever dropped out near the Admirals’ blue line.

Shawn Lalonde and Milwaukee’s Michael Latta each received 3-game suspensions for leaving the penalty box to join in the melee.  Those two had been sent off with off-setting fighting majors at the previous whistle.  Lalonde was responding to Latta taking a run and IceHogs’ forward Brandon Svendsen, who was in a vulnerable position a few feet away from the boards. Read more »

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IceHogs weekly wrap: Hutton leads ‘Hogs back to .500, sets franchise mark; Kyle Beach’s return date and much more

By Chris Block

Behind another stellar week of goaltending from Carter Hutton, the Rockford IceHogs picked up five of a possible six points last week to improve their record to 26-26-2-5.

This marks the first time the IceHogs have sat at the .500 mark since way back on October 28th when the team was 4-4-0-0 after a win at Peoria, the same night Kyle Beach went down with a dislocated right shoulder.

The week began on Wednesday night as a flu bug hit the Rockford dressing room.  The IceHogs, weakened also by the Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig call ups to Chicago earlier in the week, and without Jeremy Morin, put forth an amazing effort against the visiting Abbotsford Heat, one of the AHL’s best road teams.

Ben Smith was credited with his team-leading 8th power play goal to get the ‘Hogs on the board first.  The goal was originally given to Ben Youds but the official scoring was flipped the next day.  That goal also ended a 0 for 30 slump for the IceHogs power play units.  And they needed just 3 seconds on their first power play of the night to end that nightmarish streak.  The newest IceHog, Matt Fornataro knocked in his second goal in his fourth game since joining the team.  The game went to seven rounds in the shootout with Abbotsford scoring four times on Hutton while Heat goalie Danny Taylor allowed three from the IceHogs.  Rockford lost 3-2 but picked up a point.

Carter Hutton was the only reason the IceHogs were even in the game in Milwaukee after forty minutes on Friday night.  Since signing an NHL contract with the Blackhawks on Feb 24, Hutton has been incredible for Rockford.  The game was a rematch of the goalie-duel from six days earlier at the BMO between Hutton and Atte Engren.  Hutton prevailed in that game winning 2-1 in a shootout.  Engren stopped 35 shots in that game.   In Friday’s contest, Rockford was outshot 33-13 after two periods but the game was tied 1-1 heading into the third period.  In the final frame, the IceHogs got goals from Brandon Pirri (his team-leading 22nd) and Jeremy Morin (13th) to take the game 3-1.  Rockford is now  5-1-0-1 against Milwaukee this season and have five game left with the Admirals beginning with a  home-and-home this coming Saturday and Sunday. Read more »

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Hawks pickup Oduya, Move Scott; Recall Shaw, Bollig

By Chris Block

The lone addition Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks made before Monday’s 2pm central trade deadline was mobile defenseman Johnny Oduya.

Oduya, 30, comes to the Hawks from the Winnipeg Jets at the price of a 2nd and 3rd round draft choice in the 2013 NHL Draft.  He is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The six-foot 190 pound Stockholm native was playing third pair minutes in Winnipeg averaging 19 minutes per game.  In 63 games played, Oduya had 2 goals, 11 assists and was a minus-9.

Oduya’s biggest asset is his skating.  His addition and impact on the Blackhawks will be strikingly similar to how Chris Campoli fit in after he was acquired at last season’s trade deadline.  Campoli’s addition was regarded as underwhelming at the time, but he did skate some big minutes for the Hawks. Read more »

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