I don’t have any shows of my own planned at the moment, but I can announce that I will be joining the HockeeNight PuckCast this Sunday night, April 21st. We’ll be discussing the Blackhawks as they get primed for postseason; either a Rockford IceHogs post-mortem or playoff preview and if maybe even more 1960’s and 70’s northeast professional wrestling as we did last time I did the PuckCast.
–Nashville Predators’ winger Kevin Henderson will be making his NHL debut tonight against the Blackhawks at the UC. Back in 2007, Henderson was an invitee to the Blackhawks summer prospect camp. At that camp, Henderson skated on Jonathan Toews’ line. The summer ’07 camp was the one just prior to Toews and Patrick Kane’s rookie seasons.
DYLAN OLSEN UPDATE
The Blackhawks 2009 first round pick suffered a foot injury on April 7th in a game against the Peoria Rivermen in Rockford. Olsen blocked a shot off his left foot during the second period of that game and has not played since.
Olsen was back skating with the IceHogs this week and could possibly play in the regular season finale tomorrow night in Cedar Park, Texas. Olsen has been ruled out of tonight’s game in San Antonio, however.
Tonight, Rockford will go with the following defense pairs: Ryan Stanton-Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck-Steve Montador, Joe Lavin-Shawn Lalonde.
ROCKFORD ICEHOGS – It all comes down to this…
The Rockford IceHogs (40-31-2-1, .561, 83 points) wrap up their regular season this weekend with two games in the Lone Star State.
Tonight, Rockford will visit the San Antonio Rampage (29-36-2-7, .453). The Rampage (14th in the west) are the AHL affiliate to the Florida Panthers. Read more »
One night after picking up a huge 7-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in their regular season home finale, the Rockford IceHogs hit the road, again set out to keep their AHL postseason bid alive in a crucial divisional matchup with the 8th place Milwaukee Admirals.
Rockford came into Saturday’s contest in 9th place in the Western Conference, tied at 81 in points with Milwaukee, though the Admirals hold two games in hand over the IceHogs heading into the final week of the regular season.
On the heels of Brandon Pirri’s franchise record 6-point (1 goal, 5 assists) night and Ben Smith’s hat-trick in the win over the Wolves, the IceHogs had to beat the Admirals on Saturday if they had any hopes of sneaking into the postseason.
Backed by a 20 save performance by Carter Hutton and goals by Adam Clendening, Ben Smith and Klas Dahlbeck, Rockford did just that, defeating the Admirals 3-1 on Saturday before a crowd of 8,895 fans at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Read more »
Video highlights from Rockford’s 2-1 Overtime victory in Milwaukee on Saturday night. Video runs 1:15.
See the great individual effort by Brandon Saad to win the game in overtime, as well as the feed Jeremy Morin received from Adam Clendening to tie the game with 3:28 remaining in regulation. It was Morin’s 13th goal and that was also assisted by Saad. In two games on the weekend, Brandon Saad posted two goals and four assists, besting his point total in the previous fifteen games (1g 4a) by one.
Riding a four game losing streak (0-3-1-0), the Rockford IceHogs drive 93 miles northeast tonight where they’ll visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center to face off with the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time in six days.
The lone point Rockford has picked up in those four contests came in a 4-3 overtime loss in Milwaukee this past Friday. Rockford trailed the Admirals 3-1 midway through that game until goals by Brandon Pirri and captain Martin St. Pierre forced an overtime session. However, a breakdown in the IceHogs end resulted in Kevin Henderson surprising Carter Hutton with the game-winning shot a minute and forty-five seconds in to send the IceHogs back to Rockford with only the one consolation standings point.
Although the IceHogs (13-12-1-1) have lost both of their games since dropping first-place to the Griffins in Grand Rapids on December 9th, that one point earned in Milwaukee has been enough force Rockford back into a tie with Grand Rapids for the top spot in the Midwest Division. The Griffins has also lost their past two games since moving into first in the division. Grand Rapids hosts the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena.
The Midwest division race is as tight as it could possibly be, now a third of the way through the 76 game American Hockey League season. One point separates last-place Milwaukee (12-11-2-1, 27 points) from Grand Rapids and Rockford in the top spot. Read more »
Looking to build on recent winning ways and retain their first place standing in the Midwest Division, the Rockford IceHogs played host to division rival Milwaukee Admirals, winners of three of its last four games. Milwaukee also entered Friday’s contest riding a five-game point streak (3-0-2-0) as they recently have welcomed Ryan Ellis, Gabriel Bourque and Taylor Beck back into their lineup.
The IceHogs rose atop their division in winning 7 of its last 9 games, going from two games under .500 on Nov 16 to three games above .500 and in first place on Dec 2nd.
Friday also was the first of five meetings between the two clubs this month. Milwaukee came into Rockford on Nov 10 and skated away with a 4-2 victory. That night, the first of 12 times these two clubs will face off this regular season, Alec Richards was between the pipes for Rockford.
On Friday, Carter Hutton, the starter in the IceHogs last three games, all wins in which Hutton allowed a total of five goals, was back to face a Milwaukee team he went 8-1 versus last season.
Hutton was strong early Friday night but struggled to bail his teammates out when miscues and mental lapses plagued Rockford during a three-goal Milwaukee 2nd period. Read more »
On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced they have reached terms on a 1-year contract with center Pete Leblanc. It will be a two-way (NHL/AHL) agreement.
Leblanc was originally the Blackhawks 7th round selection (186th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. After spending four years at the University of New Hampshire, Leblanc turned pro with the Rockford IceHogs.
The Hamilton, Ontario native has spent the past two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs on AHL contracts as the Blackhawks had elected not to offer Leblanc an NHL contract until now.
In 70 games this season, Leblanc has posted 23 goals and 20 assists for the IceHogs. Since being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games in early November, Leblanc has scored all 23 of his goals over the most recent 61 contests.
He is currently tied for the team lead in goals scored (23) with Brandon Pirri. And Leblanc is second on the team in overall points, trailing Pirri by twelve points, with 43. Leblanc has a plus/minus rating of plus-2. It was Leblanc’s elevated level of play that caused veteran Brett McLean to slip down the IceHogs depth chart and even to the wing on the fourth line before McLean opted to play out the rest of the season in Switzerland. Read more »
In all, four players received a total of 10 games as penalty for their involvement in Sunday’s brawl. Rockford got the short-hand with two of its players each getting three games while Milwaukee got a total of four. The two teams and respective coaches were fined undisclosed amounts as well.
IceHogs center Rob Flick received 3 games for essentially instigating the incident when he skated over to Milwaukee’s crease and engaged with Admirals’ goaltender Jeremy Smith while the two teams were lining up for a face off in the neutral zone. Smith got a 1 game suspension.
Smith and Flick appeared to be exchanging words before Smith took a sip from his water bottle and turned around to find Flick approaching the top of his crease. At that point Smith took the first swing with his blocker at the head of Flick and the two immediately began fighting before the puck had ever dropped out near the Admirals’ blue line.
Shawn Lalonde and Milwaukee’s Michael Latta each received 3-game suspensions for leaving the penalty box to join in the melee. Those two had been sent off with off-setting fighting majors at the previous whistle. Lalonde was responding to Latta taking a run and IceHogs’ forward Brandon Svendsen, who was in a vulnerable position a few feet away from the boards. Read more »
This is the hard Bradley Center arena scoreboard cam. You don’t see everything, but stick with it (at 3:00) and you’ll see the beginning of the deal when Rob Flick and Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith threw down. Shawn Lalonde and Michael Latta of Milwaukee had just been sent to the box, each with fighting majors on the play prior to the face off when all this went down. Thus, Lalonde and Latta both came out of the penalty box to join this melee. It should also be noted, the IceHogs were down a player all together in the brawl, as forward Rostislav Olesz left the game in the first period with an apparent serious injury to his right knee. Olesz did not return.
Rob Flick, Carter Hutton, Shawn Lalonde, Ryan Stanton and head coach Ted Dent all received game misconducts and thus ejected. This all went down about halfway through the second period. To calm things down and sort out the mess, the referees inserted an eighteen minute mid-period intermission.
As of this hour, the AHL has not issued the inevitable suspensions to Rob Flick, Shawn Lalonde and Ted Dent, if not others as well.
More video of the continuation of the “brawl” which continued on for several minutes as the officials tried to separate everyone. Read more »
Without the services of Ben Smith and leading scorer Brandon Pirri, the Rockford IceHogs extended their recent dominance of the Milwaukee Admirals behind goaltender Carter Hutton’s 22-save performance.
Rockford defeated the Admirals 4-1 on Saturday night on goals from unlikely sources in Chris DiDomenico, Brandon Svendsen and Philippe Paradis. All three ended long personal goal scoring droughts. Pete Leblanc, another player whose had hard luck recently finding the back of the net, added an empty-netter with 45 seconds to go sending the Milwaukee crowd of 15,888 home unhappy.
Brandon Pirri missed the game with a lower-body injury. Pirri will miss Sunday’s home game versus the Admirals and likely Tuesday’s contest in Oklahoma City against the conference-leading Barons as well. Officially, Pirri is listed as day-to-day.
Ben Smith will undergo surgery next week to repair a labral tear in his right hip and hernia. He will miss the remainder of the season but is expected to make a full recovery in sixteen weeks.
For one night anyhow, the IceHogs didn’t seem to miss Pirri and Smith as others stepped up in their absence. Read more »
Top Blackhawks prospect and Rockford IceHogs winger Jeremy Morinwas suspended on Tuesday for the team’s next 3 games as result of an elbowing incident during Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss in Milwaukee.
With six minutes remaining in the second period, Morin collided with Milwaukee Admirals center Joel Champagne, while chasing a loose puck deep in the Admirals’ zone.
Morin’s elbow connected with the left side of Champagne’s jaw as Morin attempted to box his opponent off the loose puck in the right corner behind the Admirals’ goal line.
Champagne was moving on the ice but did lay prone for several minutes while attended to by both the IceHogs and Admirals trainers. He was eventually placed on a backboard and stretchered across the ice before being sent to a hospital for further evaluation.
The play sequence began with a weak Champagne turnover in the neutral zone, forced by an Andrew Shaw backcheck. Seconds later, Brandon Pirri gained the Admirals’ blue line by lifting a puck, tossed backhand across the ice, leading Shaw along the far boards. Shaw won a one-on-one physical battle with defenseman Tyler Sloan and advanced that puck down low into the right corner. At this point, Morin read the play and came down from the middle of the slot in pursuit of the puck.
Joel Champagne actually should have gotten to that puck first, but he was slow to get there. Champagne saw Morin coming and pulled up to avoid a hit. Morin had time to adjust, and instead of throwing a check on Champagne, Morin chose to box him off the puck since Champagne was, in effect, surrendering possession to Morin. In seeing Champagne pull up and making his adjustment, Morin shifted his weight in turning his back to Champagne to shield the Milwaukee player off the puck.
As far as the elbow, Champagne was struck by an accidental blow from Morin’s left, trailing elbow. Read more »