Tag Archives: Barry Smith

Summer Hockey Ops Changes: Blackhawks increase scouting staff, Hold steady on analytics

By Chris Block

There’s been plenty of change on and off the ice this off season in Chicago.

The Blackhawks have added several new professional and amateur scouts to the Hockey Operations department. There are also some changes in the developmental staff and a few departures of note.

New Goaltending Developmental Coach

When Andrew Allen joined the Buffalo Sabres as their new NHL goaltending coach this summer, it created a coaching vacancy on the Rockford IceHogs’ staff and in the Blackhawks developmental realm.

That hole was filled this week when the organization hired Peter Aubry away from the Lake Superior State Lakers (WCHA) where he coached the Lakers’ defense and helped out with the goaltenders.

Aubry, 38, is a former goaltender who was an assistant on the Lake Superior staff for one season. Prior to that, he was an assistant for Mercyhurst College, his alma mater (1998-02), for three years. Mercyhurst is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Read more »

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Blackhawks hold mini-camp in Sweden this week; Artemi Panarin’s first team workouts

By Chris Block

With just about a month to go before the Blackhawks open NHL training camp in Chicago, players will be accelerating their off season workout regimens in preparation for the season.

Some players who will partake in the rookie tournament in early September will need to be in peak condition sooner.

With that in mind, the Blackhawks, in cooperation with the Djurgarden hockey club in Stockholm, are conducting a conditioning mini-camp this week in Sweden.

It’s an annual summer tradition now for the club, organized by Barry Smith, the Blackhawks Director of Player Development.

Players expected to take part in this week’s mini-camp include: Read more »

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On Carl Dahlstrom, and possible disconnect between Blackhawks management, pro and amateur scouting staffs

Dahlstrom_Carl_2015Apr18_Marlies_RFD_IceHogs          Carl Dahlstrom, photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs – April 18, 2015

Roughly half of the following piece first appeared in The Committed Indian program on May 21st. Also included here are quotes and further detail and analysis that didn’t fit into the first-run story.

By Chris Block

As great as the past seven or so years have gone for the Blackhawks, there are causes for concern as to whether or not the organization can sustain this reign of success going beyond yet another cap crunch that awaits Stan Bowman and company this summer.

Patrick Sharp’s days with the organization appear to be nearing an end due to the mammoth Toews and Kane contracts kicking in next season. And Marian Hossa may have only another year or two left in him before he retires. On the blue line, Brent Seabrook has one more year before he’s an unrestricted free agent. When that day comes, Seabrook will be a 31-year year old, 11-year NHL veteran.

Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen are top-six talents who will help smooth that transition. Future Hall of Famers Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are so good the Hawks will always be a threat no matter what.

But what has separated the Blackhawks in their championship runs, as well as the near miss in 2014, is the team’s depth. A third and fourth line that matches or exceeds that of any of their conference and playoff rivals; as well as a top four defense that is as good as it gets in hockey. Whether the fourth guy was Brian Campbell or Johnny Oduya, it didn’t matter. The Hawks are filthy rich in elite defensemen with Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson leading the way. Read more »

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More on Jeremy Morin’s AHL “Conditioning” loan, his trade demand, possibilities; Rockford injury, coaching updates

By Chris Block

Jeremy Morin agreed to a maximum 14-day conditioning loan with the Rockford IceHogs for the dual purpose of getting the 23-year old left winger some game time and showcase the beleaguered now 5-year pro for a potential trade.

Morin had been designated a healthy scratch for 8 consecutive games leading up to the conditioning loan. He last played on November 20th in Calgary.

Rockford embarks on a 6-game road trip starting in Milwaukee tonight (Dec 10th). Thus it’ll be 19 days between games for Morin. He is expected to be in the IceHogs’ lineup tonight.

Should Morin remain with the Blackhawks’ organization for the duration of this loan, he’d have to be recalled from the loan on December 22nd, the day after Rockford’s road trip concludes. The Blackhawks can also recall him at any time before then.

There’s some interesting aspects to this move.

Morin’s agent, Pat Brisson (who also represents Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) went to Stan Bowman in the middle of last week essentially requesting a trade on behalf of his client. Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times reported on Sunday (Dec 7) Morin’s side presented it as a “play me or trade me” type of proposal. Read more »

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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 »

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Checking in with Teuvo talk, Sweden camp, Zagreb IceHogs, Beach’s try-out contract and more

By Chris Block

The full AHL regular season schedule is supposed to drop on Tuesday. It was finalized Monday. This is the latest I can recall the American Hockey League taking to get its schedule done. The reason it took until the last week of August (less than six weeks prior to Opening night) this time around is because the NBA schedule wasn’t completed just a couple of weeks ago, in mid-August. AHL franchises, Lake Erie (Cleveland), Charlotte, San Antonio and Oklahoma City share buildings with NBA teams and the AHL couldn’t lock in those teams’ home dates until the NBA finalized its schedule.

Teuvo’s Turn

Impression I get is a roster spot is essentially Teuvo Teravainen’s to take in training camp. If he’s ready, the Blackhawks will not hold him back for any reason. However, if he’s still hesitant, over-thinking or a bit over-matched physically (these things will all come around, no one is doubting that) in half or more of his preseason appearances, there would be no hesitation to give Teravainen a month, two or however long it may take in Rockford. Read more »

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A look at the non-drafted Free Agent Invitees at this week’s Blackhawks prospect camp

By Chris Block

On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks will open their annual summer prospect camp over at Johnny’s Ice House West on Madison Street west of the United Center.

Blackhawks draft picks such as Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Stephen Johns, Mac Carruth, Dillon Fournier and Carl Dahlstrom among others will draw most of the attention.  However, filling out the practice groups and intra-squad scrimmages are a host of undrafted free agents from across the globe.

With 2012 first round pick Teuvo Teravainen skipping this year’s camp and 2013 first-rounder Ryan Hartman missing out while on the mend from a recent shoulder surgery, more opportunity for other less recognizable names and faces to leave an impression on Blackhawks management now exists.

In the past some of these camp invitees have gone on to earn contracts with the Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs or other organizations in the NHL and AHL.  This year’s crop is likely to be no different.

Today we’ll be profiling some of the more interesting names attending this year’s prospect camp under invitation.

JACKSON WHISTLE, 18 – Goaltender – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list of free agent invitees at this summer’s prospect camp is Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle. Read more »

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More disciplined Hogs still fall to .500 in 2-1 loss to Wolves

By Chris Block

After allowing 17 goals in their last two losses, 7 coming while the team was short-handed, the Rockford IceHogs held team and organizational meetings all last week focusing on eliminating the mindless and careless minor penalties which have plagued this team all season.

That’s all fine and well, but when it takes until late January to correct an issue that should have been nipped in the bud at least two months ago, losses like the one to the Chicago Wolves on Friday night sting even more.

On Friday, Rockford was narrowly outplayed by the Chicago Wolves, handing the IceHogs a 2-1 defeat in front of a sellout crowd of 6,097 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

The loss extends Rockford’s current losing streak to three games, but this loss wasn’t anything like the previous two. Read more »

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Ted Dent says some supposed NHL guys not pulling their weight; Blackhawks brass forcing more lineup changes; Tonight’s game preview

By Chris Block

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 »

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The Rockford Files: Dent on the Jimmy Hayes Center Experiment, Notes on Beach, Saad’s return, Bad starts, the offense and more

By Chris Block

Each week from now until the end of the season we will bring you a first-hand account of the latest news, developments and analysis of this season’s Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Conflict of Interests?

“Well, we’re 1-3.  So, that’s my assessment.”

That was IceHogs coach Ted Dent this past Saturday night after a 4-2 loss at home when asked to give his assessment of Jimmy Hayes’ performance in the four games after the decision was made to move Hayes from his regular spot at right wing, over to the center ice position.

Eight games into the season, the edict came down from Chicago Blackhawks management that they wanted to see how Hayes would do at center.

Little forward thinking went into this decision either, apparently.  Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith was quickly dispatched to Rockford to go over film and one-on-one instruction over three days with Hayes, who admittedly hadn’t played the center position since he was a kid.

Not during training camp.  Not over the summer when Hayes was a part of a group of 12 top Blackhawks prospects who traveled to Sweden for a five-day August mini-camp.  No, during the last week of October was when the IceHogs coach received word he was to play Hayes at center until further notice.

“No, I haven’t played there in a long time,” Jimmy Hayes said last week. Read more »

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