Category Archives: Prospects

Rookie tourney: Game 1 recap – Maple Leafs drop Hawks 4-2, Paradis injured


By Brad Vandenberk

Annual rookie tournaments have begun all over North America, getting fans and players excited with less than a week until training camp starts.  The Chicago Blackhawks are in Oshawa, Ontario playing the likes of Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Toronto.  Game 1 saw the Hawks square off against the Maple Leafs at the General Motors Centre.

Donned in their red jerseys, the Hawks began the tournament with a determined effort against the Leafs.  Mac Carruth was the starting goalie joined by starters Shawn Lalonde and Dylan Olsen on defense.  Mark McNeil was flanked by Ludvig Rensfeldt and Jimmy Hayes up front. [Hawks game roster]

The Hawks got their first chance at a power play as the ref made a hooking call at 1:52 of the first period.  They were unable to capitalize however.

It didn’t take long for the fists to start flying as 5’10” Andrew Shaw took on 6’5” Jamie Devane with a David versus Goliath type match.  [Highlights at bottom of this report]

After Devane served his 5 minute major for fighting, he opened the scoring for the Leafs as a puck was shot wide from the blue line and bounced to the side of the net. Devane, standing on the door step, quickly shot the puck over Carruth making the score 1-0 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first.

Philippe Paradis left the 1st period after being hit hard in the offensive zone and grimacing his way back to the bench.  Paradis did not return.  [ed.  note: Paradis did not dress in Sunday’s game vs Ottawa] Read more »

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LeafsTV Highlights: Blackhawks-Leafs prospect tourney

Highlights of Saturday night’s Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs prospect match up in Oshawa, Ontario.  Toronto took the game 4-2.

Chris DiDomenico and Brandon Saad were the Blackhawks’ goal scorers.

Chicago’s roster here.
 

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Saturday news & notes: David Toews, Tourney starts tonight, Ex-hawks in limbo & former IceHogs’ enforcer now fireman


Blackhawks acquired the rights to Jonathan Toews’ younger brother on Friday.

David Toews arrives via the New York Islanders in exchange for future considerations.

It should be noted that David Toews did not have a pro contract with the Islanders and so far the Blackhawks have not tendered him one either.

David Toews is turning pro after completing his amateur career in the Western Hockey League this past spring.  He has joined Blackhawks’ prospects in Oshawa this weekend for the four-day round-robin rookie tournament.  Like his brother, David is a centerman.

“Stan Bowman called me and wanted me to know that they weren’t trying to do Johnny any favors,” David Toews told the Free Press.  “(Bowman) said he liked me as a player and they’re pretty familiar with me because I’ve been training in Chicago all summer.”

David Toews, 21, was drafted by the Islanders in 2008, 66th overall in the third round.  He followed in his older brother’s footsteps attending North Dakota for two years but struggled for ice time and left following his sophomore season.  Toews joined the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) last season and as an overager scored 20 goals and 28 assists in 60 regular season games.  Read more »

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Prospect Tourney in Oshawa Takes Shape

Johan Mattsson, Aug 9, 2011, Lake Placid, NY – Yahoo.ca

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In ten days, about 24 of the Blackhawks top prospects will arrive in Oshawa, Ontario to compete in the annual Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Invitational Tournament.

The Leafs, Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will participate in the four-day, round-robin points-based tournament.  The same four competed against one another last September when the exhibition was staged in London, Ontario.  Chicago has been invited for the second consecutive year, having replaced the Boston Bruins, the only change in the foursome since 2009.

Toronto announced its roster way back on August 9.  Ottawa and Pittsburgh did so on Tuesday.  Click the links to preview their squads…. Read more »

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Contingency insurance: Previewing potential 2011-12 Blackhawks call ups

photo: HockeyBroad.com

By Brad Gardner

All thirty NHL teams are optimistic at this time of summer, but the one thing we can all be sure of is that everything will not go according to plan. Injuries have their way of piling up, players may not live up to expectations, or teams may find that progress made during the summer in one area has left them with a hole elsewhere in the game plan. One of the Blackhawks organization’s responses to the unpredictable nature of the NHL season has been keeping their AHL affiliate within arms reach, roughly 90 miles west on I-90 in Rockford, Illinois. The Third Man In takes an admittedly early look at some possible mid-season scenarios and introduces the prospects who may be expected to answer the call.

So you need a top six forward…

Safe bet: Jeremy Morin is the easy answer here after a solid nine game trial last season. Coming back from a concussion, though, he’ll get back into the swing of things with the IceHogs to start the season. His best asset may be his goal-scoring ability, but he showed as a rookie that he was willing to play any role to stay in the Chicago line-up. The 20-year-old winger is the organization’s best bet if the power play is in need of new life – his cheetah-quick release would be a dangerous weapon with a set-up guy like Kane feeding him the puck. Read more »

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Blackhawks well represented at WJC evaluation camp


By Brad Gardner

Seven Blackhawk prospects took part in USA Hockey’s recent World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY from August 6th through the 13th. The camp included an initial roster of 44 Americans as well as teams from Finland and Sweden. Although the U.S. roster is months away from being finalized for the 2012 World Junior Championships to be held in Calgary and Edmonton, beginning December 26th, the camp gives coaches and decision-makers a chance to gauge chemistry among the players as well as test the skaters in certain roles and situations.

The camp opened with a pair of intra-squad scrimmages in which the American invitees were split into two teams: USA Blue and USA White. In the first scrimmage, USA Blue earned the win behind a pair of quick goals by Chase Balisy in the third period. USA White answered the next day, getting out to a 3-0 lead behind two markers from J.T. Miller, and holding onto the lead despite a strong push from Blue late in the game. Both teams then played a third scrimmage against one of the European squads. Blue beat Sweden with an overtime game-winner from Vincent Trochek while White scored three unanswered goals in the second for a 5-3 win over Finland. Read more »

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Barons bang ends IceHogs’ streak; Blackhawks pick Gilbert to join Hogs

Rockford can go without seeing the Oklahoma City Barons for another seven months.

The bubble burst on Rockford’s five-game winning streak and overall recent upswing in the form of a 7-0 pummeling Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Hannu Toivonen made his fifth start in six games but was pulled in favor of Alec Richards during the first intermission.  Toivonen allowed three goals on nine shots.  Richards didn’t fair much better, letting another three by himself in the second period.  Richards stopped 14 of 18 Barons overall in finishing the game.

Toivonen has been pulled from 8 of his 41 starts this season.  Four of those have come against the Barons.

Friday, Oklahoma City scored all seven of their goals at even strength.  The Barons did go 0 for 2 on the power play but one of those lasted just 26 seconds and by the time they got their second chance the score was already 6-0.

The IceHogs finish the season series with OKC at a record of 1-4-1-0.  They were dominated 29-16 (-13) in the scoring column and their lone win came back on Jan 2 in Oklahoma City when the IceHogs needed six goals to defeat the Barons 6-5. Read more »

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Marcus Kruger joining the Blackhawks this week?

Marcus Kruger

Potential for big news coming out of Sweden this morning as SPORT-Expressen is reporting that Marcus Kruger will be leaving Sweden and making his Blackhawks’ debut as soon as this week, according to the report.

[UPDATE: 7:15 am]  The Djurgarden Hockey web site is now reporting that Kruger is, in fact, on his way to Chicago to join the Blackhawks.

Marcus Kruger was the Blackhawks 5th round pick (149th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, playing for the Djurgarden Jr. team at that time.  If the report is accurate, he would join Viktor Stalberg and Niklas Hjalmarsson in the Swedish-born Blackhawks contingent this week, about six month’s earlier than previously planned.

Kruger, who will turn 21 in May, signed his 3-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on June 18, 2010.  His cap hit, per listing at CapGeek.com is $900,000 and his deal is heavy on performance bonuses (possible $310k) this year.  Kruger’s base salary this season is $590,000 plus a $90,000 signing bonus.

This season Kruger led the Djurgarden Elitserien (Swedish Elite League) squad in scoring compiling 6 goals and 29 assists for 35 points. Read more »

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Update on Jeremy Morin’s health

Top Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin has been inactive due to an “upper body” injury he suffered in a game against the Chicago Wolves in Rosemont, Illinois back on January 15th.

Morin acquired the injury roughly a minute before the end of the opening period when he was hip-checked by Wolves’ defenseman Andrey Zubarev, catapulting him up and over Zubarev, resulting in Morin coming down on the top of his head (helmet on) as he struck the ice.

He is believed to have suffered a concussion on that incident.

Progress is being made as Morin’s health is improving, but a target for Morin’s return to the ice is still uncertain.

“You know what, I haven’t had an update on (Morin) for awhile,” IceHogs’ head coach Bill Peters said after Saturday night’s 4-3 win over Peoria.   “We’ve had some other guys that have been dinged up a little bit here that have been kept under the radar.  DJ [Jones, IceHogs trainer] has done a good job with those guys.”

“I know he’s feeling better,” Peters continued.  “I talked to (Morin) the other day and I had a good visit with him here today. 

“He’s starting to feel better.  So, I think there is some progress being made there.”

With just 11 games remaining in the IceHogs’ season after tonight (Hogs skate at Grand Rapids on Sunday), time is running short on Morin’s potential return to Rockford’s lineup.

The first step would be to resume skating with his teammates, which he hasn’t done since the injury occurred.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Blackhawks recall Ben Smith

Chicago Blackhawks recalled forward Ben Smith from the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday.  An announcement will be made on Sunday morning.

Smith has played in twenty games since missing a month with a concussion suffered in a January 8th game against Grand Rapids.  In that game, widely regarded as Smith’s best performance as a pro at the time, Smith posted 3 assists in a dominant 6-0 win over the Griffins.

In the 20 games since his return, Smith has 8 goals and an assist.  However, seven of those eight goals have come in the last ten games.

Overall, Smith has 15 goals and 10 assists in 55 games in his rookie season with the IceHogs.

This move comes two days following the Blackhawks March 17th game at Dallas, a 5-0 loss to the Stars.  A late afternoon Bryan Bickell scratch left the Blackhawks short a player and they played the game with 17 skaters, one short of the regular 18.

Thursday’s loss could loom large next month if Chicago and Dallas wind up in a tie-breaker situation, in which Dallas’ 5-0 victory gave them the deciding head-to-head advantage.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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