Dec 072013
Nordstrom_Joakim_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov09vsIowaJoakim Nordstrom battles for position with Iowa’s Tyler Graovac Nov 9th
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil


By Chris Block

Joakim Nordstrom returned the Rockford IceHogs lineup on Saturday in Charlotte after being reassigned by the Blackhawks the previous day.

Nordstrom, 21, posted a goal and an assist in the IceHogs 5-3 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday night.  He was also a stunning plus-4 in the game.  Overall this season with the IceHogs, Nordstrom has skated in 16 contests, notching 6 goals and 2 assists to go with a plus-4 (plus/minus) rating.  Modest offensive numbers, though the Swede is scoring at a 20.0% shooting percentage (6/29). Continue reading »

Apr 052012

Hawking at Dixie Square Mall

By Rich Lindbloom

“Kung Fu
That was one of my good ones
Well what’s a few broken bones
When we know it’s good clean fun
I’ve almost made them respectable
You see I can’t always get through to you
So I go for your son…so
Give me all your money ‘cause I know you think I’m funny
Can’t you see me laughing
Can’t you see me smile

I’m the man
I’m the man that gave you the hula hoop
I’m the man
I’m the man that gave you the yo-yo.”  –
Joe Jackson

All right Peabody, time for another journey on the way back machine. Back in 1973, my good friend Jack Carlson and I used to frequent the Game Room in Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, instead of attending our chemistry class at Thorton Community College. Continue reading »

Nov 032011

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks survived their first game of the Florida road trip, squeaking past the Panthers by a score of 3-2 in a shootout. The win brought Chicago’s shootout record back up to 2-2 and extended the team’s current winning streak to three games.

Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks up 1-0 just over four minutes into the first period. Defenseman Sean O’Donnell cleared his zone with a flip pass towards the offensive end. The puck was collected by Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who played to his defensive partner Mike Weaver. Toews descended on the unsuspecting Weaver and forced the turnover to Andrew Brunette. The winger returned it to Toews as he crashed the net and the Hawks captain tipped the puck past the rookie Markstrom for the first goal of the game.

The Panthers out-shot the Hawks 15-7 in the opening frame but were unable to solve Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford. Scottie Upshall led the Florida attack with five shots.

Despite the shot disparity, Chicago extended their lead at the 5:41 mark of the second period. Patrick Kane carried the puck into the zone on the rush as Andrew Brunette attacked the front of the net. Brunette drew Kulikov closer to the crease and gave Kane a lane to pass across the zone to an open Marian Hossa. He ripped a quick one-timer between the legs of Markstrom to put the Hawks up by two goals. Continue reading »

Nov 012011

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks withstood a typical effort by the visiting Nashville Predators Monday at the United Center. The Blackhawks overcame a few bad bounces, a zero for seven evening on the power play, three Nashville leads and an injury to Duncan Keith to record a 5-4 overtime victory.

Patrick Kane had a pair of goals and an assist in the Chicago win, while Viktor Stalberg made his time in the top six count, scoring the game winner for the second straight game. The ‘Hawks move to 7-2-2 this season.

The game got off to a nightmarish start when a funny bounce along the boards caused the puck to elude Corey Crawford in the first minute. Caught behind his net, David Legwand managed to throw a shot to the side of the goal. The shot hit the post and kicked out in front of the net for Patric Hornqvist to backhand for a Halloween treat of a goal.

The Blackhawks were on the power play three times following Nashville’s mark, including a brief 5-on-3 advantage, but didn’t draw even until the final minute of the period. Kane benefitted from Marian Hossa winning a board battle for the puck, taking a pass from Patrick Sharp and beating Pekka Rinne through the five-hole to knot the score at a goal apiece going into the first intermission. Continue reading »

May 102011

Blackhawks 2011 Summer Critical Date Calendar

May 15

Gold & Bronze Medal Games IIHF World Championships in Slovakia.  Marcus Kruger is representing Blackhawks on Team Sweden as is Michael Frolik for the Czech Republic.  Ex-Hawks Andrew Ladd (CAN), Mathis Olimb (Norway), Tuomo Ruutu (Finland), Jack Skille (USA) also involved in playoff elimination round beginning May 11th.  Marian Hossa did play in the tournament but his team, Slovakia, the host country, was eliminated in the qualifying round.

June 15 – 30

League-wide moratorium on new player contracts: Meaning a team cannot re-sign any of their own free agents, restricted or unrestricted, during this period.

Buy-Out Period (June 15-30) *Clubs with salary arbitration cases [July 20 – Aug 4] have a second opportunity to buy-out contracts. Deadline in those cases is 48 hours after the Club’s last salary arbitration award or settlement.

June 24-25

NHL Entry Draft – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center

June 27

Deadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their restricted free agents.  Qualifying offers must be received by this date.  Players, however, cannot accept those Qualifying Offers officially until July 1.  Players have until July 15th to accept their QO.  Any impending RFA who does not receive a Qualifying Offer can become an unrestricted free agent if their Club also does not opt for Club-Elected arbitration. Continue reading »

Mar 262011

Friday night Evan Brophey became the latest player to add fuel to the blindside head shot debate.  And its likely he’s going to face a multi-game suspension due to a decision he made in the blink of a eye.

NHL observers who recall Joe Thornton’s check on David Perron back on November 4, 2010 would find that as a comparable hit.

Brophey had just stepped out of the penalty box mid-way through the third period with the IceHogs up 3-1.

A diagonal Hamilton pass through the neutral zone put Bulldogs’ forward Hunter Bishop in the direct line of Brophey as rejoined the play.  Brophey took a step or two and launched himself into Bishop.  Brophey is 6-3.  Bishop is 6-foot.

“Obviously it was a bad hit,” a conciliatory Brophey said after the game.

“It was to his head.  And my intentions were to just go shoulder to shoulder.  But it was a blindside hit and I feel bad.  And I’m sorry about that hit.”

Brophey has never been thought of as a dirty player, or one who takes cheap shots while an opponent is in a vulnerable position.  On Friday though, a split-second decision to separate Hunter Bishop from the puck in the neutral zone put Brophey in the eye of the current state of head shots, blind side hits and players putting some respect for each other back into the game.

Conventional hockey thinkers would say Brophey did what he was supposed to do.  Except he overshot his target when striking Bishop’s head.

“It was an unfortunate situation where I had just come out of the box and the puck came to him,” Brophey explained in his own words.   “So, I was trying, like I said, to go shoulder to shoulder.  But I clipped him right in the head, straight on.  You know, I feel bad and I apologize for that.” Continue reading »

Nov 152010

Here’s the audio for tonight’s HockeeNight PuckCast. It was a pleasure to be a guest on their 3rd show two years ago and the many times in between. Congratulations to CT and the “Forklift” on their 100th show.  Tonight, I was a guest along with Dave Morris, writer at Hockey Independent.

Many topics were discussed including the Blackhawks at the quarter mark and what to expect of them moving forward.  We dug into the Colin Campbell email controversy, debated the integrity of NHL officiating, the blogosphere and the NHL’s place in today’s sports and entertainment landscape.  And so much more…

Oct 072010

I wanted to get my full predictions up before the first puck drops on the 2010-11 NHL Season at 11am this morning in Helsinki, Finland (Hurricanes-Wild).  I’ll follow this up later on today after a nap, with team-by-team commentary and thorough explanations of these detailed predictions.

2010-11 Western Conference Prediction

    W L OL Pts
1 Vancouver Canucks 51 21 10 112
2 Detroit Red Wings 48 22 12 108
3 San Jose Sharks 47 24 11 105
4 Los Angeles Kings 47 25 10 104
5 Chicago Blackhawks 46 24 12 104
6 Nashville Predators 44 29 9 97
7 St. Louis Blues 44 30 8 96
8 Colorado Avalanche 42 31 9 93
9 Phoenix Coyotes 41 32 9 91
10 Anaheim Ducks 39 34 9 87
11 Calgary Flames 38 33 11 87
12 Minnesota Wild 37 36 9 83
13 Columbus Blue Jackets   36 37 9 81
14 Dallas Stars 34 37 11 79
15 Edmonton Oilers 33 38 11 77

2010-11 Eastern Conference Prediction

    W L OL Pts
1 Boston Bruins 51 23 8 110
2 Washington Capitals 48 24 10 106
3 Philadelphia Flyers 46 25 11 103
4 New Jersey Devils 45 27 10 100
5 Pittsburgh Penguins 43 27 12 98
6 Buffalo Sabres 43 31 8 94
7 Montreal Canadiens 42 30 10 94
8 Tampa Bay Lightning   40 32 10 90
9 Carolina Hurricanes 39 32 11 89
10 Atlanta Thrashers 38 32 12 88
11 Ottawa Senators 39 36 7 85
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 35 37 10 80
13 New York Rangers 33 40 9 75
14 Florida Panthers 32 39 11 75
15 New York Islanders 29 40 13 71

East Conference Quarter-Finals
Boston Bruins over Tampa Bay Lightning

Washington Caps over Montreal Canadiens

Philadelphia Flyers over Buffalo Sabres

Pittsburgh Penguins over New Jersey Devils

East Conference Semi-Finals
Boston Bruins over Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals over Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference Final
Washington Capitals over Boston Bruins

West Conference Quarter-Finals
Vancouver Canucks over Colorado Avalanche

Detroit Red Wings over St. Louis Blues

San Jose Sharks over Nashville Predators

Los Angeles Kings over Chicago Blackhawks

West Conference Semi-Finals
Los Angeles Kings over Vancouver Canucks

Detroit Red Wings over San Jose Sharks

Western Conference Final
Los Angeles Kings over Detroit Red Wings

2011 Stanley Cup Finals
Washington Capitals over Los Angeles Kings

Quick notes:
As I mentioned way back on last month’s TTMI~Radio when we previewed training camp with Sam Fels, I expect Los Angeles to go for it all this year, and acquire Brad Richards from Dallas sometime in February if not earlier.  If the Stars are pinning their hopes on Kari Lehtonen, they will regret it.  Brad Richards will be a UFA next summer and the Kings are a 1st or high-end 2nd line center away from being serious Cup contenders.  The Kings will have Thomas Hickey and Colton Teubert, top defenseman prospects to package in a deal, and the Stars have a tremendous need for good young blue liners.

Where LA finishes mostly depends on when they get Richards, or another big gun.  But they will make that move.  They wanted Ilya Kovalchuk, but the price was too high and long-term implications would have potentially cost them key pieces down the line.  Richards is a big game performer as his Conn Smythe trophy from the 2004 Finals proves.  The Kings’ defense might be the deepest, most versatile in the West when its all said an done.  In the end, I believe they fall short.  But it will be a fun ride for Kings’ fans.

In regards to the Hawks, a lot of where they finish really depends heavily on what Detroit does.  If the Wings can stay healthy and receive competent goaltending, I can’t envision them not winning the Central.  But, it will go down to the wire.  I had the Hawks finishing with 106-107 points before the Campbell injury, and that dropped them one slot and cost them home ice against the Kings on my board.

If it were any other team but the Kings, I’d lean heavy on the Hawks to advance to the second round.  At some point though, the lack of depth, inexperience and downgrades in some key positions left behind by the departed will catch up with them.  And I can’t bet on Marty Turco.

Going into the season, its apparent to me each conference has clearly defined upper and lower tiers.  In the middle are a bunch of teams you could pick to win a round if the worlds align just right by April, but none are real Cup contenders.  So, the betting money is with the chalk.

I’m going back to my prediction of a year ago.  This will be the season it all clicks in Washington.  At some point they’ll get a goalie.  Varlamov won’t be that man.  George McPhee, in my mind, made a big mistake not making a move on Antti Niemi.  Unless he has a bigger fish (Ilya Bryzgalov or Tomas Vokoun) in mind.  I also agree, as Sam Fels predicted on our show in September, that Bruce Boudreau won’t be the guy behind the Caps’ bench when they make their run for the Cup in the spring.

I’ll have more later including season-ending trophy predictions.

Aug 302010

A nearly 2 1/2 hour show with CT and “the Forklift” of the incendiary and award-winning “PuckCast” audio program.

Monday August 30, 2010

Direct Link to Hockeenight’s show page and description 

As for our show, join us Tuesday night at 8pm central, for the 50th edition of TheThirdManIn~Radio.  Our guest will be Scott Norton, head of the Norton Sports Management group.  Norton’s list of NHL clients include Dustin Brown (LA Kings), Brent Sopel (ATL) and former Blackhawks prospect Billy Sweatt.