Category Archives: News and Notes

Toews, Quenneville and Blackhawks place high in 2011-12 NHLPA Player’s Opinion Poll

By Chris Block

Jonathan Toews, Joel Quenneville and the Chicago Blackhawks organization scored high in this year’s NHLPA Player Poll.

318 players submitted answers to the annual questionnaire, written by the staff of Hockey Night in Canada and the National Hockey League Player’s Association.

Joel Quenneville, who some Blackhawks fans were screaming to have fired as little as eight days ago, saw his league-wide player approval rating in the “Coach players would most like to play for” category increase from 6 percent in the 2010-11 player poll to 11% this season.  Quenneville placed second to Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, who again received 21% of votes cast in the category.

In last year’s poll, 11% of players indicated the Chicago Blackhawks as the team they would most-like to play for, putting the Blackhawks in a tie for second with the Vancouver Canucks.  This time around the Blackhawks received the most votes supplanting the Detroit Red Wings who topped the category a year ago.  14% of players responding indicated the Blackhawks were the team they’d most-like to play on.  Detroit slid into second-place with a slight drop at 13% of the votes.  Boston came in 3rd taking 11% of the votes, also the biggest one-year jump of any NHL team. Read more »

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Montador to IR, Blackhawks recall Olsen; IceHogs get Danis-Pepin

Today, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) on the Injured Reserve list.  Montador was injured in Tuesday night’s loss at Colorado.

In his place, the Blackhawks have recalled 21-year old Dylan Olsen from the Rockford IceHogs.

Olsen played in two games for the Blackhawks (January 5 @ Philadelphia, January 6 vs Colorado) last month and posted four shots on goal.  He was held off the scoresheet but also left the Hawks an even plus/minus.

Read our profile on Dylan Olsen published in late December, eight days before his first NHL call up.

In 44 games with the IceHogs this season, Olsen has 4 goals, 3 assists and is a minus-4.  Two of his four goals have come in Rockford’s last four games. Read more »

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Hawks sign top picks McNeill and Danault, plus Shaw; Podcast Wednesday and more IceHogs notes

Mark McNeill – photo: HockeyBroad.com

By Chris Block

We’ve got TTMI~Radio coming up tomorrow night (Wednesday) January 4th over at BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn.

Join us live at 8pm central for our annual New Years resolution and predictions extravaganza.  This show should be Super.

We’ll take a look at why the Blackhawks suck against the Oilers, what’s wrong with Dan Carcillo’s brain… how the Blackhawks don’t seem to care about the brains of Marcus Kruger, Brent Seabrook and others… and we’ll preview the week ahead, including the big matchups Thursday in Philly with the Flyers and back at home Sunday with the Red Wings.

Beer, Bacon & Malort

My good friends over at HockeeNight dot com will be hosting some Red Wings fans this Saturday night, January 7th, at Paddy Long’s in Chicago at 1028 W. Diversey.  That, of course, is on the eve of the Red Wings-Blackhawks matchup at United Center the next night.  Hmm.  Beer, bacon and Malort… don’t mind if I do.

–I’ll have another column running in the Committed Indian this Sunday night.

McNeil, Danault gets deals

On Monday, the Blackhawks made official the signings of both of their 2011 1st round draft picks, centers Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault.

Both players will continue with their junior teams and likely be called to the Rockford IceHogs if those seasons end before Rockford’s does, which at this point looks like it’ll be on April 14th. Read more »

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IceHogs notes: Rockford begins 9 of 10 on the road Monday night in Milwaukee

By Chris Block

I continue to receive questions regarding Kyle Beach’s status.  There is no real update other than he’s out indefinitely with a severe right shoulder injury.   His shoulder was dislocated during a fight with Peoria’s Stefan Della Rovere in Peoria back on October 28.

Beach’s right arm is currently in a harness.  He’s been telling people he’ll be back before the end of the regular season.  I don’t know for sure if that’s accurate, but there is hope he’ll return sometime in March.

Season on the brink

With the loss to Toronto this past Wednesday night, the Rockford IceHogs home record drops to a dismal 6-11-0-0.  They are 3-2-0-0 over their most recent five home games.  One of those wins came via the shootout.

I suppose its good news that 9 of Rockford’s next 10 games are on the road.  Last season’s IceHogs turned their misfortunes around and finished strong (17-5-1-1) beginning with an early March 7-game road trip.

That current stretch of 9 of 10 begins Monday night in Milwaukee where the IceHogs will face off with third-best team percentage wise in the Western Conference.  The Admirals are currently second in the division behind Charlotte, but they’ve also played five fewer games than the Checkers and trail Charlotte by just two points in the standings.

Rockford is now 11-15-1-2 overall.

% Points Earned-wise, the IceHogs are the 2nd-worst team in the AHL (.431).

By Goal Differential, Rockford (-16) ranks 25th out of 30 AHL teams.

They are 6th in Goals Scored per game (3.1)

However, the IceHogs are dead-last in Goals Allowed per game (3.7).  The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in the other conference and have no like opponents with the Hogs, are the next-worst, allowing 3.4 goals per contest.

The only team in the AHL with a worse record is the Binghamton Senators (11-19-1-1, .375), which is Rob Klinkhammer’s new home. Read more »

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Radio returns Monday, some Thank Yous and a personal note

First of all, I want to thank all of our readers and listeners, new and old, for spending time on our site this year.   I hope everyone has a great weekend planned with loved ones and enjoys the break.

–Speaking of our listeners….

TheThirdManIn~Radio returns this Monday afternoon, December 26th with a special one-time start time of 3:30pm central.

I believe I will be joined by Al Cimaglia, of Sirius/XM Radio.  Of course, Al is also the Blackhawks writer now at MyFoxChicago.com.  You’ll be able to listen live at BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn

Since I’m guessing a lot of people have Monday off, we will attempt to take phone calls – BlogTalkRadio technology-willing.

I think it’s been a couple of months now since we’ve done a show.  There have been many reasons or excuses why I’ve been on hiatus.  I’ve been getting a lot of emails and I know I haven’t provided much of an update on the show of late.  The podcast will continue in its current form until show 100.  I believe we’re at 94 now.  From there, we’ll keep rolling but there will be some changes.

–Got a lot of response to this one, and my Committed Indian column from last Friday night is up here.

A huge round of Thanks…. Read more »

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Blackhawks recall Jeremy Morin, Update on health status of goaltender Alexander Salak

By Chris Block

Jeremy Morin left the BMO Harris Bank Center late Saturday night in route for Chicago.  Morin has been recalled to the Blackhawks.

The 20-year old winger received word of his recall after an IceHogs’ 4-2 victory over Milwaukee.

Morin missed Saturday night’s IceHogs contest serving the final game of a 3-game suspension he incurred as result of last Sunday’s elbowing incident on Milwaukee Admirals’ forward Joel Champagne.  Morin miss all three IceHogs games this past week.  The team does not play again until Wednesday night, when the Toronto Marlies visit the BMO.

In 23 games this season in Rockford, Morin has 5 goals and 10 assists.  He’s a plus-1 with 56 penalty minutes.

After missing 9 months with post-concussion symptoms as a result of an Andrey Zubarev hip-check on January 15, 2011 at the Chicago Wolves, Morin finally returned to action on October 14th in Abbotsford.

Morin scored on his second shift in his return, on his first shot on goal.  He also scored in his second game back, also in Abbotsford, two days later.  Since, Morin has 3 goals in 21 contests.  Two of those came in one game, at Peoria on November 11th. Read more »

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AHL suspends Jeremy Morin 3 games for elbowing incident in Milwaukee on Sunday

By Chris Block

Top Blackhawks prospect and Rockford IceHogs winger Jeremy Morin was suspended on Tuesday for the team’s next 3 games as result of an elbowing incident during Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss in Milwaukee.

With six minutes remaining in the second period, Morin collided with Milwaukee Admirals center Joel Champagne, while chasing a loose puck deep in the Admirals’ zone.

Morin’s elbow connected with the left side of Champagne’s jaw as Morin attempted to box his opponent off the loose puck in the right corner behind the Admirals’ goal line.

Champagne was moving on the ice but did lay prone for several minutes while attended to by both the IceHogs and Admirals trainers.  He was eventually placed on a backboard and stretchered across the ice before being sent to a hospital for further evaluation.

The play sequence began with a weak Champagne turnover in the neutral zone, forced by an Andrew Shaw backcheck.  Seconds later, Brandon Pirri gained the Admirals’ blue line by lifting a puck, tossed backhand across the ice, leading Shaw along the far boards.  Shaw won a one-on-one physical battle with defenseman Tyler Sloan and advanced that puck down low into the right corner.  At this point, Morin read the play and came down from the middle of the slot in pursuit of the puck.

Joel Champagne actually should have gotten to that puck first, but he was slow to get there.  Champagne saw Morin coming and pulled up to avoid a hit.  Morin had time to adjust, and instead of throwing a check on Champagne, Morin chose to box him off the puck since Champagne was, in effect, surrendering possession to Morin.  In seeing Champagne pull up and making his adjustment, Morin shifted his weight in turning his back to Champagne to shield the Milwaukee player off the puck.

As far as the elbow, Champagne was struck by an accidental blow from Morin’s left, trailing elbow. Read more »

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IceHogs news and notes: Olesz and power play tied to recent slide, Froese back, McLean to leave team, Richards struggles, Bollig fight

By Chris Block

It’s another 3-in-3 this weekend for the Rockford IceHogs, beginning tonight when the Chicago Wolves drive up Interstate 90 to the BMO Harris Bank Center for a 7:05 puck drop.

The Wolves have won each of two meetings two far, a back-to-back, home and home affair on October 21-22.  Rockford and Chicago will see each other 12 times this season.  The final meeting coming on Sunday February 26th in Rockford.  After tonight, the two teams will next face off on December 29th at Allstate Arena.  So, the other eight meetings will come in January and February.

Chicago (9-8-1-3) is 4th in the West Division, sitting 5 points (and with a game in hand) above 5th and last-place Rockford.  It’s already becoming a broken record, but the IceHogs really need these two points tonight to keep from falling too far behind the pack.

Saturday night, Grand Rapids visits the BMO.  It will be the final time this season to see Detroit Red Wings prospects at the BMO.  Rockford has defeated the Griffins in two meetings already this season, including a 3-2 opening night victory in front of a crowd of 5,434.  The two teams will wrap their 4-game season series this coming Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.

On Sunday, the IceHogs travel to Milwaukee (13-6-0-1) for their first visit to the Bradley Center this season.  These two teams have yet to face off in 2011-12 and will do so 12 times before its all said and done.  The Admirals are a modest 6-4 at home this year.  By Sunday, Milwaukee will also be playing their 3rd game in as many days as they host Grand Rapids tonight, and visit the Chicago Wolves tomorrow evening.

Watch the IceHogs: Tonight’s Rockford IceHogs – Chicago Wolves game will be televised locally in Chicago by the Wolves at 7pm on My50-Chicago, WPWR channel 50. Read more »

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Positive news on injury to Alexander Salak

By Chris Block

The best news to come out of the weekend from an IceHogs’ perspective is that the injury Alexander Salak suffered in Friday night’s loss to Lake Erie is not nearly as bad as first appeared.

Salak was making an innocent looking stop twenty seconds into the second period when he flattened out on the ice favoring his left leg.  It did not appear that any other player made significant contact with Salak.

After a couple minutes, teammates helped Salak across the ice to an awaiting stretcher and he was rolled to the trainer’s room.  Upon getting up, Salak could put no weight at all on the leg.

Asked for a status on Salak 24 hours later, coach Ted Dent had a positive update.

“He’s just day-to-day.  I don’t think it’s too serious.”

A source confirms Salak does not have a knee injury.  It is a sprain to another part of the leg. Read more »

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IceHogs gear up for huge weekend; Kyle Beach update, Dylan Olsen itching, Toledo Hogs and Rockford attendance

IceHogs’ center Brandon Pirri – photo: Rockford IceHogs


By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs (8-10-1-0) drop the puck on a three-game weekend tonight when the Lake Erie Monsters (9-10-1-1) visit the BMO Harris Bank Center at 7:05.  This will be the first time this season Rockford has had to play three games on consecutive days.  They’ll do so again next weekend.  In both cases, the first two games are at home, followed by a game day bus trip on Sunday.

Tonight’s game also marks the return of former Hogs Evan Brophey, Hugh Jessiman and defenseman Mike Brennan.

Brophey comes in on a 4-game point streak (2g, 2a).  He registered his first career hat trick on 11/11/11 against San Antonio.  Brophey turns 25 on Saturday.  His IceHogs/Blackhawks tenure ended in suspension last March when he stepped out of the penalty box and destroyed Hamilton Bulldogs forward Hunter Bishop with an open ice blind side hit.  Brophey received a season-ending 7-game suspension after playing in two subsequent games that weekend before the AHL got around to holding a hearing following the March 25th hit.

Hugh Jessiman had posted a goal in four consecutive games prior to Lake Erie’s 2-1 loss to Houston on Wednesday night.  In 17 games this season, Jessiman has 7 goals and 9 points.  Last season, prior to being sent to the Panthers in the Jack Skille-Michael Frolik/Alexander Salak swap, Jessiman had just 3 goals and 5 points in 25 games with Rockford.  Jessiman was struggling with groin issues while with the IceHogs. Read more »

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