For the second consecutive year, the Blackhawks have teamed up with a European league team for a friendly preseason tune-up.
Twelve Blackhawks players and prospects are in the town of Södertälje, Sweden this week taking part in a week-long mini conditioning camp.
These Blackhawks are guests of the Södertälje Sportklubb (SSK), a team in the Allsvenskan league, a level below the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien), as the Södertälje team makes its final preparations to begin its 2012-13 regular season.
List of Blackhawks players and prospects in Sweden for this week’s workouts:
Brandon Bollig will join the group on Wednesday after clearing up a passport issue. Read more »
- Which position and who the Blackhawks may be looking to draft at #18
- A look back at the 2012 Draft and how well the Hawks did
- Joel Quenneville’s coaching future
- Prospects of trading some core, and non-core veterans
- Justifying the Johnny Oduya re-signing
- Phillip Danault
- Mark McNeill
- Please Stan, no more Bryan Bickell
- Looking ahead at familiar names coming out in ’13 & ’14 Drafts
- Ridiculous Blackhawks free agency speculation
- Trading Patrick Kane
- Barry Smith
- Adam Clendening and Shawn Lalonde
- Moving the Coyotes from Glendale back to Phoenix
- NHL expansion
- All this an much, much more in this 2-hour PuckCast extravaganza
PuckChatter~Radio returned Tuesday night with special guest Stephen Nelson, formerly the Rockford IceHogs radio; pre, intermission and postgame host.
Stephen joined us to share his experiences working for, and with the Rockford IceHogs this past season. He talked about his favorite players to work with and the new player profile feature he helped craft this season.
He also talked about the team’s early struggles experienced this past season and why Stephen always remained confident the IceHogs would turn things around.
Nelson gave us some behind the scenes insight on some of the top IceHogs and Blackhawks prospects including the special bond Ben Smith developed with the late Jimmy Newcomer, the 19-year old Rockford area kid who was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer who Smith visited in the hospital late one night and remained in contact with up until Newcomer passed away a few weeks ago.
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 »
On this 40-minute edition of Puck Chatter, Superstar, myself and a barking puppy dog discuss the latest major topics as they pertain to Chicago Blackhawks hockey.
Discussed is the updated status of Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith’s elbow and its impending suspension, Corey Crawford’s recent resurgence, Johnny Oduya, the newest Rockford IceHogs, their playoff chances, the Clear Day roster, Alexander Salak’s future and another struggling veteran.
We also had a Chicago Blackhawk sighting in Millennium Park today, Ruutu (whose favorite Blackhawk is apparently that player) puppy dog is doing better but is now kicking feces at his owner, Bombay gin, spending a night in Superstar’s box and Red Wings fans whining about the Preds and Alexander Radulov.
All this and much more on this edition of Puck Chatter~Radio.
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 »
Behind another stellar week of goaltending from Carter Hutton, the Rockford IceHogs picked up five of a possible six points last week to improve their record to 26-26-2-5.
This marks the first time the IceHogs have sat at the .500 mark since way back on October 28th when the team was 4-4-0-0 after a win at Peoria, the same night Kyle Beach went down with a dislocated right shoulder.
The week began on Wednesday night as a flu bug hit the Rockford dressing room. The IceHogs, weakened also by the Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig call ups to Chicago earlier in the week, and without Jeremy Morin, put forth an amazing effort against the visiting Abbotsford Heat, one of the AHL’s best road teams.
Ben Smith was credited with his team-leading 8th power play goal to get the ‘Hogs on the board first. The goal was originally given to Ben Youds but the official scoring was flipped the next day. That goal also ended a 0 for 30 slump for the IceHogs power play units. And they needed just 3 seconds on their first power play of the night to end that nightmarish streak. The newest IceHog, Matt Fornataro knocked in his second goal in his fourth game since joining the team. The game went to seven rounds in the shootout with Abbotsford scoring four times on Hutton while Heat goalie Danny Taylor allowed three from the IceHogs. Rockford lost 3-2 but picked up a point.
Carter Hutton was the only reason the IceHogs were even in the game in Milwaukee after forty minutes on Friday night. Since signing an NHL contract with the Blackhawks on Feb 24, Hutton has been incredible for Rockford. The game was a rematch of the goalie-duel from six days earlier at the BMO between Hutton and Atte Engren. Hutton prevailed in that game winning 2-1 in a shootout. Engren stopped 35 shots in that game. In Friday’s contest, Rockford was outshot 33-13 after two periods but the game was tied 1-1 heading into the third period. In the final frame, the IceHogs got goals from Brandon Pirri (his team-leading 22nd) and Jeremy Morin (13th) to take the game 3-1. Rockford is now 5-1-0-1 against Milwaukee this season and have five game left with the Admirals beginning with a home-and-home this coming Saturday and Sunday. Read more »