Jan 202013
 

By Chris Block

There is still a lot more to come from Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins before a sellout crowd of 6,219 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. [Video of the brawl is posted again at the bottom of this post]

230 penalty minutes in all were dealt out in Saturday’s game.  202 of those came as result of the brawl.

Frustrations from an IceHogs perspective had boiled over at the 11:58 mark of the second period after Grand Rapids forward Landon Ferraro scored a power play goal to put the visiting team ahead 6-3.

The IceHogs had been assessed five-straight minor penalties by the officials in the first eleven minutes of the second period alone and the Griffins had capitalized on two of those opportunities with the man-advantage.  To that point in the contest, Grand Rapids was 3 for 6 on the power play.  Rockford had just one power play chance to that point and it resulted in a Dylan Olsen goal, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period.

No one on the Rockford side after the game was entirely blaming the refs for the lopsided power plays going in Grand Rapids favor.  The IceHogs players and coach admitted most of the calls against them were warranted.  Although, it was the hooking call referee Joe Sullivan gave Terry Broadhurst that gave Grand Rapids the power play that Landon Ferraro would use to put his team up 6-3 that had the IceHogs livid with the officiating. Continue reading »

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Jan 182013
 

By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs (19-17-1-1) are hosting the Peoria Rivermen (17-17-2-2) tonight at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

It’ll be the fourth of twelve meetings between the two clubs this season.  The Rivermen have been victorious twice.  Rockford defeated Peoria 5-4 in a seesaw affair when the teams last met on November 21st in Rockford.  The IceHogs got off to a quick start when Adam Clendening scored his 3rd goal on the campaign 56 seconds in.  Rockford went up 2-0 eleven minutes later when Brandon Saad scored an unassisted short-handed goal.  Peoria though responded by notching three unanswered even-strength tallies in just under six minutes and led 3-2 heading into the first intermission.  Between periods Ted Dent changed some lines around and altered his top two defense pairings, pairing Nick Leddy with Clendening and Ryan Stanton with Klas Dahlbeck.  The rest of the game was controlled by Rockford.  Martin St. Pierre tied the game late in the second period and two power play goals from Jeremy Morin sealed the victory. Continue reading »

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Jan 122013
 

By Chris Block

In a true case of unfortunate timing, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith was injured while playing for the IceHogs in Rockford on Friday night.  The team’s leading goal scorer injured his hand and missed Saturday night’s game in Milwaukee due to the injury.

It is not known at this point how long Smith will be out of action.

Over his last 25 games, Smith has posted 12 goals, 12 assists to go with a plus-5 rating.  His season total of 15 goals are one better than that of Martin St. Pierre, the IceHogs overall leading scorer.

To follow up on a Twitter post I put out on early Saturday evening, at this point it now appears Ben Smith will not need surgery on his injured hand.

Smith was injured during Friday night’s 5-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.

A source with knowledge of the injury had learned on Saturday that Smith’s injury may require surgery.

However, late Saturday night a separate person close to the situation indicated that Smith’s hand won’t require surgery.

Smith was involved in a fight late in the second period Friday night with Griffins’ defenseman Brennan Evans.  Continue reading »

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Jan 102013
 

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. Continue reading »

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Jan 042013
 

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.  Continue reading »

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Jan 012013
 

By Chris Block

PuckChatter~Radio chimes in on the New Year appropriately today with a full breakdown of the latest in the NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining process as it dangerously draws near to the feared possibility of a 2012-13 season doomsday in the NHL cancelling its second full season in nine years.

Al Cimaglia of Sirius/XM Radio and MyFoxChicago.com joins the show to give his take on how and why the tumultuous negotiations have journeyed to this, in light of abound renewed optimism, still murky intersection.

We explore the final sticking points assumed to be the hindrances in preventing a deal to this point including the year-to-year salary variance percentage clause that has far-reaching ramifications that have gone unaddressed to this point.  We also examine the effectiveness of the “lower limit” salary cap clause and how, perhaps, that can be altered or used as leverage by the union to gain movement from the NHL on other sections of a new CBA.

All this and much, much more on a Lockout intensive PuckChatter~Radio.

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And on a somewhat related note….

For any of you who are in the market, or may know anyone in the market, to sell or purchase a new home, Al Cimaglia is now a real estate sales agent in the Chicago western suburbs at ERA Team Feinstein.

Check out Al’s web page at ERA Team Feinstein for more information or contact him directly at 630-522-2005.

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Dec 192012
 

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. Continue reading »

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Dec 162012
 

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.

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Dec 112012
 

By Chris Block

This week on PuckChatter~Radio we review the controversial as-told-to autobiography of NHL and Chicago Blackhawks legend, Jeremy Roenick.

We also detail the Rockford IceHogs three-game weekend, in which they started the weekend in first place in the Midwest Division but then fell behind the Grand Rapids Griffins after losing two-of-three including the 4-2 loss in Grand Rapids on Sunday that dropped the ‘Hogs down into second place.

Then we assess the latest in the NHL – NHLPA collective bargaining standoff and take a deeper look than you’ve probably read or heard elsewhere into a few of the key issues the two sides are at odds over.

All this and much more, including a special Christmas jingle, on this edition of PuckChatter~Radio.

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***I want to make mention….

I’ll be joining CT and the “Forklift” of Hockeenight.com fame this coming Sunday night, December 16th on their show, the Hockeenight PuckCast for a special Holiday Season podcast.  I can’t think of anything that could possibly be more fun.

PuckChatter~Radio will return next week as well at a date, time and with a guest to be determined later in the week.  (Read that, whenever I get around to figuring all that out.)

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Dec 102012
 

By Chris Block

Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Rockford IceHogs.

While the team had been able to avoid everything but a few nagging injuries here and there, the IceHogs lost another key player this weekend.  For how long though, we’re not yet certain.

Jeremy Morin missed Sunday’s loss at Grand Rapids with an undisclosed injury.  Not sure of the extent of the damage other than the IceHogs saying Morin was “dinged up.”  Morin got the worse end of a third period scrap with Chicago Wolves’ defenseman and higher end Vancouver Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton on Saturday night.  Though Morin did make a return for the game’s final moments he was unavailable for Sunday’s road contest with the Griffins.  Here is a link to video of the Morin-Connauton fight from Dec 8, Morin’s first fight of the season.

Morin has been held without a point in the last three IceHogs games he’s suited up for.  Over his last 15 games, Morin has 7 goals and 2 assists to go along with a minus-2 rating.  He’s second on the IceHogs with 9 goals total on the season, one behind team-leader Ben Smith.

–Defenseman Joe Lavin broke his right wrist in a game at Lake Erie on Nov 24th.  The injury should sideline Lavin for 5-6 weeks, putting Lavin on schedule to return sometime after Christmas.  Lavin was still wearing a cast this weekend. Continue reading »

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