Tag Archives: Ben Smith

Blackhawks recall 4 players from IceHogs, Ben Smith not one of them; Smith comments; Morin on roster shakeup

By Chris Block

While it can’t officially be announced until after the NHLPA membership ratifies the new CBA on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks have jumped the gun a bit by recalling four players from AHL Rockford.

Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig were all recalled by the Blackhawks on Monday January 7th.  This, one day after the NHL and Player’s association hammered out the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement to end the NHL Lockout.

All four players were held out of Rockford’s home game Wednesday night against first-place Grand Rapids.  The transactions will be made official this weekend.  Three of the four were in Chicago skating with most of the other Blackhawks players at informal on-ice workouts beginning Tuesday.  Nick Leddy joined in on Thursday.

One player who was surprisingly left out of the initial group of four call-ups is Rockford IceHogs alternate captain, and the team’s leading goal scorer, Ben Smith.

Smith, 24, scored his 15th goal of the season on Wednesday night.  He also ranks second in points scored by an IceHogs player, 26, seven behind team captain Martin St. Pierre. Read more »

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IceHogs can’t bully lowly Bulldogs; Plug pulled on crucial 1st period video review going against ‘Hogs

By Chris Block

Looking to return to their recent winning ways and stay within striking distance of first-place Grand Rapids ahead of two all-important matchups next week at the BMO with those same Griffins, the Rockford IceHogs (17-14-1-1) traveled to Hamilton, Ontario on Friday night to face a down-and-out Hamilton Bulldogs squad.

Hamilton came into Friday’s contest against Rockford with the worst record (11-18-1-2) in the AHL.  Hamilton, the AHL affiliate to the Montreal Canadiens, had lost 8 of their past 9 contests since defeating Rockford 6-4 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on December 15th.

Worse yet, Hamilton had not scored a goal in more than three games before facing the IceHogs for the second and final time this season.  The Bulldogs had been shutout in each of their previous three games, all road losses.

For these reasons, and perhaps a little too much confidence in the way they’ve played of late, the IceHogs may have taken the Bulldogs for granted on Friday night.

Despite the IceHogs getting out to a quick start, sloppy passing and poor work in the defensive zone contributed to a 3-1 Rockford loss before a crowd of 4,505 at Copps Coliseum on Friday.

Backup Alec Richards got the start in net, his first in nine games.  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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Chris Block joins the Hockeenight Puckcast for a special Holiday podcast

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of joining CT and the “Forklift” on their groundbreaking, award-winning HockeeNight PuckCast.

As always when Hockeenight and TTMI join together, we ran the usual gamut of topics.  We review the NHL’s class action complaint filed against the NHLPA in a New York court on Friday and the damning quotes from Jonathan Toews and Troy Brouwer cited in the motion.

We discuss all the latest on Blackhawks prospects including Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith and Fork’s favorite, Jeremy Morin.  Also, we broach the Blackhawks directive to IceHogs coach Ted Dent to move Andrew Shaw back to center, and what may have gone into that decision – the Jeremy Roenick autobiography, “torpedoing” Jimmy Hayes, Malort~!, Gary Bettman’s standing in the face of his third work stoppage, how the 5% variance would effect teams should it be realized, George “the Animal” Steele and some professional wrestling history.

You can Right-Click to Download the MP3 file here

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IceHogs 3rd period rally answers coach’s challenge

By Chris Block

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 »

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PuckChatter~Radio: Sam Fels on the IceHogs & CBA

By Chris Block

Sam Fels, lead Blackhawks maven at TheCommittedIndian.com was kind enough to join me Monday night for the jam-packed return edition of PuckChatter~Radio.

In great detail, we recapped the Rockford IceHogs at the 28.9% mark of the AHL season as well as listen to some conversations we’ve had with a few IceHogs over the past few weeks.  There is a lot going on these days out in Rockford with the suddenly first-place IceHogs and we covered most of it.

We also touch on Tuesday’s much overhyped meeting between six NHL owners and as many NHL players – Is it more posturing and sideways negotiating by the Gary Bettman and the owners in attempt to undermine Don Fehr and divide the players, or is the league finally ready to work towards getting a deal done?  We discuss.  Also, Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill were named to the Canadian U20 World Championships selection camp roster on Monday.  How do they fit and what are their chances of making Team Canada?

All this and more on this edition of Puck Chatter.

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Among the items broached on the show….

-A hockey magazine editor’s troubles with the English language
-Ted Dent talks about inconsistent play & Martin St. Pierre’s start
-Carter Hutton back on his game
-Is Nick Leddy not dominating the AHL a real problem?
-Kyle Beach’s newest move – the turtle and spear
-Jimmy Hayes talks about his transition from wing to center
-Perhaps how the Hayes-to-Center decision came about
-Surprising facts & truth on how the “experiment” is working out
-What the Hayes move says about Hawks true depth at center
-Adam Clendening’s mustache
-Jeremy Morin talks finding his scoring touch & a full off season
-Chris Block says weird things & asks odd questions
-Nick Leddy talks about his move to Left Defense & the CBA
-Stan Bowman’s ‘guys’ and where they stand
-Is Kyle Beach a power forward
-Couple of IceHogs approaching Franchise marks
-Blackhawks Board of Governors representatives
-Gary Bettman attempting to pitch a no-hitter
-IceHogs MVP
-A funny story about travels to the BMO Harris Bank Center 57:20
-And much, much more

Full TTMI/PuckChatter~Radio Archive – Show feed
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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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5 unanswered goals erase Hogs slow start in Charlotte

By Chris Block

Rockford continued its recent road winning ways with a 5-2 come from behind win before a crowd of 6,549 in Charlotte on Saturday night.  The IceHogs handed the Charlotte Checkers, the second-place team in the Western Conference, their 6th loss of the season though it was Charlotte’s 4th in 7 games in its home rink.

With the team’s hottest goal scorer, Andrew Shaw, out of the lineup serving a one game, and most recent, suspension Rockford looked to its big guns to pull them out of another big whole the team dug itself early on Saturday night.

The IceHogs got unanswered goals from Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and two from captain Martin St. Pierre.  The captain, recognized as one of the slickest set-up men in the AHL, also fell an assist shy of registering the Gordie Howe Hat Trick on Saturday.

Rockford has now strung four consecutive road wins together after starting the season 1-4-0-1 on opposing ice surfaces.

And, for the first time this season, the IceHogs sit two games above the .500 mark at 11-9-0-1 with their win in Charlotte. Read more »

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Special teams lift IceHogs past Peoria

By Chris Block

Rockford emerged victorious in another see-saw affair with division rival Peoria on Wednesday night.

The IceHogs got out to a two goal lead as Adam Clendening scored in the first minute of the game and Brandon Saad notched a short-handed goal later in the period.  But the IceHogs then allowed three unanswered first period goals and trailed 3-2 after the opening frame.  Rockford responded, scoring three unanswered goals of their own in route to an eventual 5-4 win.

Jeremy Morin was the biggest factor in the comeback, scoring power play tallies in the second and third period.  Martin St. Pierre had the other Rockford goal.

“That was a big win for us,” said Morin, the game’s number one star, after the game.

“We needed it.  It was good to get the power play going.  We need to start producing [on the power play] and not taking so many penalties.  That is going to be huge for us.” Read more »

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IceHogs Fall to Aeros in St. Paul

By Chris Block

A fluke Adam Clendening skate blowout and another case of mindless minor penalties made all the difference on Sunday night as the Rockford IceHogs suffered their 8th regulation loss in 15 games (6-8-0-1), falling to the Houston Aeros 3-2.

On the positive side, the IceHogs’ power play snapped out of its 0 for 15 funk in going 2 for 4 on the night.  Ben Smith and Adam Clendening, making up for his ill-timed clumsiness less than a minute earlier, tallied Rockford’s goals with the man advantage.

The game was played before a crowd of 11,175 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Houston is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.  Sunday served as a home game for the Aeros.

Carter Hutton was good, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he faced, but he almost had no chance to stop Johan Larsson’s goal after Clendening blew a tire out next to Hutton’s net and left a puck out in the low slot for Larsson to bang home, giving Houston the decisive 3-1 advantage with 9:59 remaining in the third period. 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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