Category Archives: Prospects

Exclusive interview with Kyle Beach, plus Ted Dent talks Beach’s absence from the IceHogs lineup

BeachKyle_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013_Nov30Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

By Chris Block

After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.

Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.

Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick. Read more »


McNeill’s first pro goal, assist help lead Rockford to a 4-3 win in Texas

By Chris Block

Oftentimes when a good young player graduates a level there is at least a brief adjustment, or feeling out period.

And, in most cases, at some point, there are those moments or nights when you can almost witness that proverbial light bulb going off in the player’s head – when he, himself, becomes convinced his abilities do apply at that next level.  On a shift, or a moment of pure instinct, his skills take over and he leaves behind the indecisiveness and over-thinking that naturally occurs when adapting to a new environment.

Prior to game two of the IceHogs 2013-14 season on Sunday in suburban Austin, Texas, Mark McNeill had appeared in 13 games in an IceHogs sweater and was without a point.  Seven of those came at the end of his 18 year old junior season, and five more at the end of last season.  In those late season cameos, McNeill barely showed even brief flashes of the attributes that made him the 18th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Read more »


Audio: Interview with Blackhawks 1st round draft pick and IceHogs defenseman, Dylan Olsen


By Chris Block

The Rockford IceHogs open their 2013-14 this weekend in Texas and Chicago Blackhawks 2009 1st round draft pick Dylan Olsen is looking to put a disappointing 2012-13 season behind him.

We caught up with Olsen in Rockford this past Saturday.

In this interview, Olsen discusses his goals for this season, working his way back up the ladder in the Hawks organization, being tougher to play against, an increased role in Rockford, working with new assistant coach Mark Osiecki, how he spent his summer and much more.

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If you missed our season preview chat with IceHogs coach Ted Dent, you can check that out here.


Blackhawks prospects notch win in tourny finale

By Brad Vandenberk

The Chicago Junior Blackhawks played their final game in the annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario on Sunday afternoon, this time facing off with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Mac Carruth got the start in goal for the Hawks, while the Pens went with Tristan Jarry.

Forward Chris Desousa worked his way back in the lineup edging out Johnny McGuire.  Bobby Shea was back in on the defense pairings with Adam Henry scratched.

Less than a minute into the opening period, Pat Mullane throws an elbow trying to separate a Pens d-man from the puck.   Read more »


Svedberg, Shalunov tally in another shootout loss for the Blackhawks prospects in London, Ontario

By Brad Vandenberk

The Chicago Jr. Blackhawks continued their rookie tournament in London, Ontario with a Saturday matinee game against the Ottawa Senators.  The Sens were winners in their first tournament game on Thursday afternoon, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects, 4-1.

Brandon Whitney played his first game of the tournament in net for the Hawks.  Ottawa countered with Andrew Hammond.

Johnny McGuire and Adam Henry also made it into the lineup, replacing Chris Desousa and Bobby Shea.

The opening period had both teams showing off their speed.  Joakim Nordstrom looked good once again for the Hawks playing alongside Philip Danault and Mark McNeill.  Defenseman Joe Gleason finds a wide open Drew Leblanc, but Hammond keeps the Sens alive.  Read more »


Jr Hawks fall short to Maple Leafs prospects in London

[TTMI contributor Brad Vandenberk was on hand Thursday night for the Blackhawks-Maple Leafs prospect tournament game in London, Ontario and provides his personal account here.]

By Brad Vandenberk

Hockey season is upon us.  Training camps are less than a week away from opening with exhibition games soon to follow.  Before all that begins, it’s the prospect’s turn to showcase their talent in a tournament in London, Ontario that involved the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators.

Chicago’s first game was on Thursday night at the Budweiser Gardens against the “home” town Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Gardens, which houses the CHL’s London Knights, was not nearly full for this affair, but Kane and Toews jerseys could be seen throughout the crowd.

Mac Carruth started between the pipes for the visiting Blackhawks.  Dylan Olsen sported the “C” and Terry Broadhurst was wearing an “A”.  Read more »


PuckChatter~Radio; e.132, Prospect Camp and Free Agency review

By Chris Block

On this edition of PuckChatter~Radio, I’m joined by Brad Gardner of and frequent contributor to to review all the Blackhawks news of the past two weeks.

Brad also attended Blackhawks prospect camp this past week and shares his thoughts on the standouts; how some other top prospects looked as well as some surprise performers as well.

We also look at the new assistant coach in Rockford and one particular intriguing aspect of that hire as well as some of the new player contracts a busy Stan Bowman has been dishing out the past two weeks as well.

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A look at the non-drafted Free Agent Invitees at this week’s Blackhawks prospect camp

By Chris Block

On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks will open their annual summer prospect camp over at Johnny’s Ice House West on Madison Street west of the United Center.

Blackhawks draft picks such as Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Stephen Johns, Mac Carruth, Dillon Fournier and Carl Dahlstrom among others will draw most of the attention.  However, filling out the practice groups and intra-squad scrimmages are a host of undrafted free agents from across the globe.

With 2012 first round pick Teuvo Teravainen skipping this year’s camp and 2013 first-rounder Ryan Hartman missing out while on the mend from a recent shoulder surgery, more opportunity for other less recognizable names and faces to leave an impression on Blackhawks management now exists.

In the past some of these camp invitees have gone on to earn contracts with the Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs or other organizations in the NHL and AHL.  This year’s crop is likely to be no different.

Today we’ll be profiling some of the more interesting names attending this year’s prospect camp under invitation.

JACKSON WHISTLE, 18 – Goaltender – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list of free agent invitees at this summer’s prospect camp is Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle. Read more »


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:

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 »


Ben Smith says he doesn’t regret fight that cost him a chance to make the Blackhawks for 2nd straight season; For now, focused on leading the IceHogs

Smith_Ben_IceHogsphoto courtesy of the Rockford IceHogs

The following is the piece published in Tuesday night’s issue of The Committed Indian, the official~unofficial Chicago Blackhawks home game night program, which you can buy individual copies or subscribe to at this link.

By Chris Block

You have to focus on what’s right in front of you and I think at that moment …  I was focused on winning two points against Grand Rapids and fortunately that night we did.Ben Smith

With the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining dispute having been settled and NHL training camps set to commence in less than three days, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith took to the BMO Harris Bank Center ice in Rockford on January 11th to face off with the IceHogs division-rival, and Detroit Red Wings farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

At this time Smith was the IceHogs’ leader in goals scored, game-winning goals, a member of both the first-team power play and penalty killing units and among the top three forwards in ice time on a nightly basis.

And on a team up to that point which couldn’t help itself but take careless or undisciplined minor penalty after minor penalty, Smith had just 4 penalty minutes on the season and had not stepped foot in the penalty box since mid October.  That’s quite the accomplishment for the gritty and tenacious two-way forward Ben Smith is. Read more »