Tag Archives: Adam Clendening

Early season story on Antti Raanta, his Opening Night injury scare, how he became a Blackhawk, what won him over, his style and much more

For those who buy or read The Committed Indian program on, or at Blackhawks home games, I have a 2-page feature running in Wednesday’s issue that hopefully you’ll find interesting.  The following is a story I did on Antti Raanta that ran in The Committed Indian back in November.  I’ve had requests to post it here, but kept forgetting to do so.  So here it is, as it ran on 11/6/13.  Raanta was recalled to the Blackhawks eleven days later, after Nikolai Khabibulin went down with a groin injury.  Stan Bowman announced today that Khabibulin underwent shoulder surgery that Bowman said would keep the veteran netminder out of action another 4-5 months.  Khabibulin will turn 41 this coming Monday.  While Bowman claimed Khabibulin “could” return this season, that timetable would put Khabibulin out until around the time of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Thus, Raanta, for the foreseeable future, is Corey Crawford’s backup and second on the Blackhawks goaltending depth chart.

 Raanta_Antti-GHAntti Raanta in action for Rockford, 10/19/13 vs Grand Rapids
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

By Chris Block

A long way from his home in Finland, Antti Raanta led the Rockford IceHogs onto the ice at AT&T Center in San Antonio last month.  Outside, it was just another steamy October Saturday in south Texas.  Inside, the IceHogs were opening the 2013-14 season.  And for Raanta, it was the beginning of the next stage in his pursuit of realizing his dream of becoming an NHL goaltender. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, Not Late Enough

By Chris Block

Since I had to work real late today, and missed the Blackhawks game, I figured we may as well do a PuckChatter~Radio.

On the show (we finished recording just before the Blackhawks-Panthers trade was announced), we discussed the Alex Broadhurst recall, Jeremy Morin’s scratchings, the Andrew Shaw contract extension, who’s next?, Brandon Bollig, the Blackhawks start, IceHogs injuries, the next wave of prospects, and which IceHogs defenseman has been flying under the radar this season.  Also, we’ll get to some listener emails, our upcoming trip to St. Louis, Superstar states his irritation with Block’s general tardiness – and much, much more.

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West-leading IceHogs can’t close another 2-goal deficit

By Chris Block

Over the initial ten games of this IceHogs’ season, on four occasions Rockford came back from 2-goal deficits to emerge victorious.  In one of those games, their home opener against Grand Rapids on October 19th, Rockford actually trailed by 2 goals twice in the contest only to eventually attain the two points.

There is something to note about the character of a team when 4 of its 7 wins have come in dramatic comeback fashion.  Although, it can also leave behind a trail of just as many questions as it does answers.  And one thing is for sure – at this level, no team is going to maintain a .700 record for very long when the team is consistently falling behind early in games.

In Rockford, on Thursday night, the IceHogs afforded the Charlotte Checkers a 3-0 advantage before staging three unanswered tallies of their own, only to lose to the Checkers, 5-3.

On Friday night, Rockford bused north to Milwaukee for the first of twelve matches this season with the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate.

The IceHogs got goals from rookies Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst in Milwaukee.  But the Admirals jumped out to an early lead and then stretched a two-goal gap on Rockford midway through the game that Rockford this time would not close. Read more »

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IceHogs come from behind to win in Toronto

By Chris Block

Twenty four hours after surrendering a two-goal lead and losing in Hamilton, the Rockford IceHogs performed a comeback of their own, scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the Toronto Marlies, 3-2 before a crowd of 4,184 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Rockford was down 2-0 midway through the game when a Drew Leblanc offensive zone penalty put the IceHogs penalty killers on a crucial kill.  That unit was up to the task and the momentum gained from that stand carried over into back-to-back tallies from Alex and Terry Broadhurst to tie the game before the second period expired.

Jeremy Morin then scored late in the third period to give the IceHogs a lead they would not relinquish. Read more »

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Audio: Chris Block joins the HockeeNight PuckCast

By Chris Block

On Sunday night, I had the pleasure once again of joining our friends CT and “the Forklift” over at Hockeenight.com for their PuckCast.

Over the course of the show we discussed the Blackhawks so-so start, Kyle Beach‘s recent claim about the role he was “forced” to play, Joakim Nordstrom’s game, whose behind him and whether or not he should be sent down to Rockford.  We also discuss Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes, the second-line center position, what should be done and who are the other top candidates for recall at this point.

Rockford’s 2-2 start is covered in detail, all the prospects and Fork’s favorites.   We discussed off season changes; Maxim Shalunov‘s first AHL shift gone terribly awry, and a funny story about Maxim Shalunov’s first interaction with the IceHogs training staff gone terribly awry; Kent Simpson going for Rockford’s star player one weekend to bench warmer the next; which Blackhawks prospect is likely to jump straight from college into the NHL, the Islanders terrible future home, Mariano Rivera, the fate of MSG, Laschet’s Inn, some Russian military history, a Jock Callander sighting and much, much more.

Its the longest PuckCast in more than three years and second-longest ever.

Fun time as always talking to those guys.

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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 »

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IceHogs Reckless in San Antonio

By Chris Block

The Rockford IceHogs began the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday night with a porous performance in San Antonio, Texas.

A re-stocked group of young IceHogs led by now AHL veterans Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and Dylan Olsen committed one careless turnover after another in route to a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers minor league affiliate.

The loss was also costly in that the IceHogs lost two players to injury.

Annti Raanta left the game at the 5:36 mark of the first period.  Raanta had taken an Eric Selleck 12-foot one-time attempt off the inside of his left knee at the 2:58 mark of the first.  Raanta smothered Selleck’s shot, but crumpled to the ice in obvious discomfort, favoring his left leg.  After consulting with IceHogs’ trainer D.J. Jones, Raanta opted to stay in the game.  He would stop one more San Antonio shot before deciding he couldn’t continue and Kent Simpson entered the contest with 14:24 to go in the opening period. Read more »

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Exhibition recap: Hawks fall short to Sid, Pens 4-3 in the shootout at United Center

By Michael Calvert

In a game that would be a premiere regular season matchup, the Hawks took on the Pens at home in preseason game #2.  Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Evgeni Malkin did not suit up for this game, so it lacked a lot of the star power this matchup normally would present.  Toews was out again with injury and is expected to be back for preseason game #3 against Washington on Friday.

1st period:  The Hawks opened the scoring with a very nice Leblanc takeaway and feed to Patrick Sharp.  Sharp put a beautiful wrister past Voukun.at 5:19 in the first.  Roughly four minutes later the Pens evened the score 1-1 on a Derrick Pouliot shot that 5 holed Khabby and could possibly be described as soft.  Six minutes later the Pens strike again on a Joe Vitale putback at 16:53.  The Vitale goal ended the scoring for the first period. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio; Al Cimaglia guests Talkin’ the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions

By Chris Block

Al Cimaglia of MyFoxChicago.com and Sirius/XM Radio joined me Wednesday night on PuckChatter~Radio to review the Chicago Blackhawks run to their 2nd Stanley Cup in the past 4 seasons.

Over the course of this 60 minute podcast, Al and I outline the turning points and pivotal factors in the Blackhawks playoff run, climaxing with Monday night’s clinching Game 6 victory in Boston.  We also look at the toll some player’s endured in the battle for Lord Stanley’s chalice and how much is too much; compliance buyouts, offer sheets, what awaits Bryan Bickell, what’s next for Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville’s team, who won’t be back and some names that could also be on the move.

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–Special Thanks to Molson Canadian, the Official Imported Beer of the NHL..

The Chicago Blackhawks answered the Call of the Cup, have you?

If not, there’s still time to participate in Molson Canadian beer’s Call of the Cup.

For a limited time, Molson’s Call of the Cup bottle series will be available throughout the Chicagoland area as in markets across the United States.

Molson Canadian recognizes that every decision a coach makes in the Playoffs can mean the difference between skating to glory and skating into the off season.

When you pick up Molson Canadian bottles now in the U.S., you can participate in The Call of the Cup series, which allows hockey fans to play the role of the coach and make the tough calls from their smart phones, or just debate the questions and scenarios on the back of the bottle labels between friends.

Which special teams unit is more important in the playoffs?  Make trades or stand pat at the trade deadline?  Be a part and help a team win its first Stanley Cup or help a team break a long championship drought?  Answer these questions and debate more scenarios in The Call of the Cup series from Molson Canadian beer.

For more information check Molson Canadian out and Like them on Facebook at:

Facebook.com/MolsonCanadianUSA

—-

PuckChatter~Radio will return next week (either Monday or Wednesday) to review the Blackhawks at this Sunday’s NHL draft in Newark, New Jersey, the moves Stan Bowman and company make there as well as preview free agency opening on July 5th.

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HockeeNight and Chris Block converge on this week’s PuckCast

Sunday night I joined CT and the “Forklift” for my quarterly HockeeNight PuckCast appearance.

We touched a lot of bases.  You’ll need to listen for yourself, but we discussed the Rockford IceHogs season, another non-playoff appearance, where it all went wrong and where many of those players go from here.

Also, we talked the Blackhawks and their playoff preparations, Corey Crawford, Edzo, Craig MacTavish, a marriage proposal, Fork visits the set of Dancing With the Stars, Marty Turco, Kory Kucur (yes, Kory Kocur), Brandon Bollig, the upcoming draft, the Iowa Wild, Tony Hrkac, Brian Noonan and other odd nuggets.

Check it out.

It can also be downloaded here.

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