Hawks late surge too short in St. Louis

By Michael Calvert

The Blackhawks got off to a quick start in St. Louis on Saturday night but then sank for the next thirty-eight minutes. So much so that even a dominant third period wasn’t enough to lift the visitor’s over the Blues.

Chicago got a power play tally from Patrick Sharp just sixty-two seconds into the game and a Kris Versteeg goal in the third than Sharp assisted on as well. But that was all the offense the Hawks could muster against Brian Elliott and the Blues as St. Louis took the first meeting of 2014-15 between these two rivals, 3-2 at Scottrade Center.

Coach Q went real wild with the lines on Saturday night, moving all 4 forward lines around. The defense was the usual top four with TVR playing alongside Rozsival on the bottom pairing. Read more »

IceHogs halt 2-game losing streak, top rival Wolves 4-3 in Rockford

By Chris Block

Coming home from a 4-game, 9-day road trip in which they collected five of a possible eight points, the Rockford IceHogs met a stiff challenge in MidWest Division rival Chicago Wolves on Saturday night.

The game was to include a subplot of the two Broadhurst brothers facing off for the first time in a regular season game, but that didn’t come to be as Alex Broadhurst was scratched from the IceHogs’ lineup on Saturday.

A crowd of 4,422 at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford saw the visitor’s light the scoreboard in the game’s first minute, but a strong, quick response from the IceHogs soon followed.

More of that resolve was needed later, as the IceHogs scored a goal in the last minute of the second period to tie the game, then Brandon Mashinter potted a rebound in the third period in what would stand as the game-winning goal as the IceHogs took the first meeting of the annual Illinois Lottery Cup by a 4-3 score. Read more »

Milwaukee hands Wolves tough-luck OT loss in Rosemont on eve of Wolves-Hogs battle in Rockford

By Chris Block

One night before the Chicago Wolves make the quick trek up Interstate 90 on Saturday night to face off with Rockford at the BMO, John Anderson’s troops hosted another rival, the Milwaukee Admirals.

A crowd of 3,233 turned up at Allstate Arena in Rosemont for the first installment of what is referred to as the “Amtrak Rivalry.” The two teams will meet 12 times this season, just as will the Wolves and IceHogs.

The Wolves got goals from forwards Ty Rattie and Jeremy Welsh, as well as an assist from former Blackhawks’ product Terry Broadhurst, playing in his third game with his new team.

But a fluttering Anthony Bitetto snap shot late in overtime somehow got by Wolves’ starter Matt Climie, sending the home crowd for the exits in disbelief.

“It was a good hockey game, back and forth,” Brent Sopel explained after his team’s second home loss, both coming via overtime. “Both teams had some opportunities there in overtime. Their guy just…We can call it a good miss. [Bitetto] flubbed the shot and it went in.” Read more »

Rinne, James Neal hat-trick too much for Hawks in Music City

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks were in Nashville Thursday night to open a two-game road trip. James Neal and Pekka Rinne were anything but gracious hosts to the Hawks, leading the Predators to a 3-2 victory.

Rinne made 30 saves on the night to hold on to a Nashville lead. Neal took care of the scoring with his fifth career hat trick. As a result, the Predators now lead Chicago by three points in the Central Division standings.

First Period-Chicago got on the board first, with Ben Smith making a sweet spin move in the left corner, maintaining possession of the puck and hitting Marcus Kruger behind the Nashville net. When Kruger came around the goal and was looking to pass, there was Smith waiting at the left post. Smith knocked in his first goal of the season at the 12:21 mark to put the Hawks up 1-0. Read more »

Raanta’s 2nd career shutout helps Hawks route Flyers

By Brad Vandenberk

Antti Raanta was all smiles when he was informed that he would be making his season debut against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.   Corey Crawford missed the morning skate with an upper body injury. The Finnish netminder finished with 32 saves for his second career shutout as the Blackhawks pounded the Flyers 4-0.

Patrick Kane had 2 power play goals and Brandon Saad was the spark the third line needed getting his first goal of the year along with an assist. This ended the Hawks 4-game home stand (3-0-1-0) which spanned over eleven days. Read more »

Fantasy Chatter: Week 3 Movers, Shakers and Drop outs

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The Week Ahead: Week 3, Oct 20-26

4 Game slates: CHI, SJ, TB, VAN
3 Game slates: ANA, ARI, BOS, BUF, CAL, CAR, COL, CLB, DAL, DET, EDM, NASH, NJ, NYI, OTT, PHI, PIT, TOR, WASH, WIN
2 Game slates: FLA, LA, MIN, MON, NYR, STL

By Lane Myer

So you’re kind of upset that you spent a first or second round pick on a goalie like Lundquist, Rask, Price, or Varlamov and they’ve let you down thus far. It happens. Small samples, perhaps new equipment, new system, or new defensemen in front of them and all. You’ll be fine…except maybe in Varlamov’s case because he wasn’t going to replicate last season’s ratios with that blueline in front of him and now the groin thing. Hey, I didn’t want to take Varlamov in the TTMI League, myself. Stupid Chris Stupid Block forced me to.   Don’t worry, the shadowy overlord of TTMI is facing karma’s wrath by taking Cory Schneider a pick ahead of me and subsequently struggling to 5, 3, and 4 goals allowed in 3 of his last 5 starts.  A ha. Read more »

Toews shorty snatches OT win from Predators

By Jon Fromi

Jonathan Toews’ first goal of the 2014-15 campaign was certainly a memorable one. The Chicago Blackhawks captain victimized the Nashville Predators for a shorthanded goal Saturday night as the Hawks edged Nashville 2-1 in overtime at the United Center.

First Period-The Blackhawks jumped on goalie Carter Hutton right away as the teams were switching up in the second minute. Bryan Bickell dug a puck out of a scrum of players and got it out to Niklas Hjalmarsson at the red line. Hjalmarsson sent it across the ice to Oduya up the left side. Oduya entered the Nashville zone and to the top of the left circle, where he let fly with a shot on goal. The puck found the five-hole to put Chicago up 1-0 at the 1:49 mark. Read more »

Odds and Saads: Whole Lotta Rosie?, Dent talks Teuvo; notes on signings, Chicago Stadium and Coliseum; great moments in Florida Panthers history and more

By Chris Block

Michal Rozsival hopes to be an everyday player again in Chicago. [Mark Lazerus, Sun-Times] Rozsival is expected to make his season debut Saturday in Nashville.

–Blackhawks have added Mike Sullivan to the player development staff. He most recently had been John Tortorella’s assistant for seven seasons. TTMI story here.

–If you haven’t, check in with our new Fantasy Hockey guru Lane Myer.

–Our detailed recap of Rockford’s 3-2 opening night loss to Milwaukee. Following up on the response to the paragraphs on T.J. Brennan, his $600,000 one-way deal is the reason the Islanders wanted him included in the deal. Brennan wasn’t going to make the Isles with Leddy and Boychuk around and the Isles didn’t want to spend that money on him as a player in Bridgeport.

In Brennan, Peter Regin and Drew LeBlanc alone, Stan Bowman has $1.825M in guaranteed NHL salary in Rockford right now. He had substantially more than that in the past when Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz were stashed away in the AHL. The Hawks minor league team has become akin to a money pit since 2011.  You get the impression the Hawks have no plans for Brennan.

–Other notes reported from practice: Marian Hossa sat out practice today but will play Wednesday vs the Flames. Kris Versteeg could start skating this weekend and Joel Quenneville is disgusted with his third line so far. Read more »

Hawks hire another new player development coach, long-time Tortorella ally

By Chris Block

Blackhawks have hired another Player Development Coach.

Recently the team hired Mike Sullivan, who last served as an assistant on John Tortorella’s staff in Vancouver. Tortorella and Sullivan were each fired by the Canucks on May 1, 2014.

Sullivan joins Yanic Perreault, Adrian Aucoin and Mark Eaton on the Blackhawks Player Development staff. This group reports to Barry Smith. Their primary role is to assist in the development of prospects.  Keith Carney was also apart of that team, but he’s currently on voluntary sabbatical from the organization.

Aucoin and Eaton are former NHL defenseman, Sullivan a forward, while Perreault a center who was one of the league’s best faceoff men in his day. Aucoin and Perreault both had stints with the Blackhawks in their playing days.

This new hire does bring a wide-range of experience, but also some baggage. Read more »

Rockford drops Opener, 3-2 to Milwaukee: Full details; IceHogs, Ville Pokka injury notes

IceHogs_LockerRoom_2014_100214Photo credit: TheThirdManIn.com

By Chris Block

Rockford opened its season at home on Saturday night with a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals.

Blackhawks 2013 1st round pick, Ryan Hartman tallied both goals for the IceHogs. Hartman benefited from skating hard in following up a Matt Carey shot late in the first period and then got a fortunate redirect late in the second when he threw a puck on net and watched it bounce off a Milwaukee defenseman and by Admirals’ goaltender Marek Mazanec.

Veteran Michael Leighton got the start for Rockford and was good, yet the tough-luck loser. Milwaukee’s game-winning goal came when Adam Clendening over-skated a puck Leighton had left for the defenseman behind the IceHogs’ goal. The puck was quickly snatched up by Milwaukee and Leighton had little chance to stop the immediate Joe Pendenza goal.

Rockford started the scoring late in the first. Read more »