Al Cimaglia of MyFoxChicago.com and Sirius/XM Radio joined me tonight for the latest edition of TheThirdManIn’s PuckChatter~Radio.
Al and I dissected the fallout from the Blackhawks second consecutive first round elimination, this time coming to the Phoenix Coyotes.
We analyzed what general manager Stan Bowman spotlighted as the areas his team faltered and also what he didn’t say. We took a look at the supposed “core”, the Hawks’ inexcusable power play futility, Marian Hossa’s future, Phillip Danault, Dave Bolland, who is gone, Corey Crawford, if the goaltending should be upgraded and potential changes to the roster.
All this and much, much more in this sixty minute show.
We were fortunate enough on Saturday to sit down with Rockford IceHogs’ head coach Ted Dent for a lengthy season-in-review discussion.
In this twenty-five minute interview, Dent shared his take on the gamut of subjects from coaching, to working in unison with Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks coaching staff to the ups and down season his IceHogs experienced in this 2011-12 season.
Dent also gives his take on the state of Kyle Beach‘s progression, where he thinks Beach could be had it not been for missing four months due to shoulder surgery and if Dent has been surprised at all by the rapid ascension of Andrew Shaw.
This morning I had an opportunity to chat with Rockford IceHogs first-year defenseman Joe Lavin.
In his first pro season, Lavin has quietly risen into the top tier of upcoming Chicago Blackhawks prospects on the defense. Lavin turned pro last April after completing his collegiate career as the captain of the University f Notre Dame where he was a regular pair-mate with another Blackhawks’ prospect, Stephen Johns. The Blackhawks drafted Lavin in the 5th round (126th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
At 23, Lavin is one of the older IceHogs but he also carries himself like a ten-year veteran. Lavin plays an intelligent game from the blue line and his improved agility and mobility have helped advance his offensive skill set as well at the pro level.
The interview is about ten and a half minutes long following an introduction.
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 »
The Rockford IceHogs are running out of bodies and now games in their wild postseason bid.
On Friday they travelled to Cleveland, Ohio for a two-game set with the Lake Erie Monsters. Rockford entered the opener on Friday night trailing the 10th-place Monsters by two points in the Western conference with a game in hand on Lake Erie.
By any means, this weekend presented four points the IceHogs needed. And anything less than three would put Rockford’s postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
With five games remaining and four teams to leapfrog in order to qualify for postseason, this weekend represented an opportunity to gain ground or jump past Lake Erie in the standings all together.
But after a 2-1 loss at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night, the IceHogs at best now can leave Cleveland this weekend in the exact predicament they arrived in.
And if they don’t beat Lake Erie in regulation on Saturday, they’ll bus home having lost ground in spite of getting two of a possible four points.
Rockford’s pursuit of a playoff spot has approached storybook proportions of late behind timely goal scoring, team defense, key contributions from ECHL signings, some luck and Carter Hutton.
The IceHogs have gone 20-8-1-3 since Jan 16th when they were a season-worst 7 games below the .500 mark.
However, the IceHogs still managed to stumble in recent weeks even in earning 11 of a possible 12 points in their six games coming into Friday night’s contest. 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 »
The Chicago Blackhawks came out with a pair of early tallies to establish control in Dallas Friday night. Up 2-0 before Stars fans knew what had hit their team, the Blackhawks won their third road game in four tries this month with a 4-1 triumph.
Chicago took little time in lighting the lamp. Just seconds after the faceoff, Bryan Bickell got control of the puck along the boards between the benches. Andrew Shaw got the pass as he came over the blue line and dropped it back to Dave Bolland, who snapped home the shot past Kari Lehtonen at the ten second mark of the opening period.
Ninety seconds later, after Corey Crawford turned away a redirected shot, the Hawks brought the puck to the other end. Viktor Stalberg’s attempt was blocked by Lehtonen, but Patrick Sharp got the puck out the corner. Looping into the left faceoff circle, Sharp fired for the opposite post. The shot got past Lehtonen and 1:42 into the game held a two-goal advantage. 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 »