Tag Archives: Chris Block

Rockford’s goal troubles: Numbers and numbers; Mark McNeill says no more raking leaves

Hartman_Ryan_2014Dec30_IceHogsRyan Hartman – Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs Hockey


By Chris Block

Thanks to a terrific start to the season, the Rockford IceHogs still sit atop the MidWest Division a little past the halfway point of the AHL season.

But the past six weeks have been a struggle for the IceHogs. The team’s offense some nights is almost non-existent and the gap between Rockford and nearest contenders, Milwaukee and Chicago has narrowed.

When the IceHogs win they’re averaging 3.7 goals for versus 1.7 against.

In Rockford’s 19 losses (23-13-4-2), they’ve scored just 1.4 goals per game, while the goaltenders allowed 2.9 against.

“We got four goals [Friday, a 4-0 home ice win over Iowa], which was nice,” said IceHogs’ coach, Ted Dent.

“We haven’t had four goals in a long time. So, we’ll just keep chipping away at it.”

Since Thanksgiving, Rockford has put up 4 goals or more just 4 times. That represents a total of 22 games in which the IceHogs have averaged 2.09 goals for per game. Rockford’s record since Thanksgiving is 8-9-4-1. Two of those wins came via the shootout. Read more »

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Stephen Johns returns only to be sidelined again; Dent says 2-3 weeks, Johns talks prior injury

Johns_Stephen_2015Jan19_IceHogsPicStephen Johns (#4) battles Jeremy Welsh in front of Scott Darling Monday Jan 19
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs

 

By Chris Block

Rockford had only begun to realize how much they missed the steady and physical play of Stephen Johns when injury struck the rookie defenseman again on Monday.

Now the IceHogs will again be without their big rookie blue liner for a stretch.

Johns will miss the next 2 to 3 weeks, according to the team.

“When you can’t do something you love and you enjoy every day, it hurts and it’s frustrating.”

Those were Stephen Johns’ words this past Saturday night, having just completed his second game back from a concussion that kept him out of action for seven weeks.

Now, a left knee injury, suffered Monday afternoon in a game against the Chicago Wolves, will force Johns to miss more time. Read more »

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Ryan Hartman suspension details, Mark McNeill gets Nordstrom’s spot at AHL All-Star Game, Blackhawks add member to Equipment Staff

By Chris Block

RYAN HARTMAN SUSPENDED

American Hockey League on Wednesday suspended IceHogs forward Ryan Hartman for 1 game as result of a high-sticking incident in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves.

The incident took place at 18:44 of the first period along the half wall in the IceHogs’ zone nearest the Rockford bench.

Hartman was looking to play a puck off the wall when Wolves’ forward Colin Fraser converged. Hartman appeared to be looking to lift Fraser’s stick, but what wound up happening was the blade of Hartman’s stick forked Fraser in the face.

There was no immediate penalty called by referees Jarrod Ragusin or Tom Chmielewski (who referred the Blackhawks-Coyotes game in Chicago the next night) as play continued and Fraser returned to the Wolves’ bench. Read more »

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Rockford’s Slump Continues, Drop 3-2 shootout loss to Charlotte; Stan Bowman Talks Prospects, Teravainen; More notes

2015Jan13_MarkMcNeill_Charlotte_IceHogs_PicMark McNeill doesn’t beat Drew MacIntyre in the shootout Tuesday Jan 13th in Rockford
Photo: Rockford IceHogs Hockey


By Chris Block

On Tuesday night, the Rockford IceHogs began the second half of their season looking to punt their recent goal scoring troubles and get back on a winning track in the first meeting of the season with the visiting Charlotte Checkers.

A weeknight crowd of 2,515 saw their ‘Hogs go down 2-0 midway through the contest only to hustle back to tie, then miss out on the extra point in the shootout competition and lose the game by a 3-2 final score. It was Rockford’s third straight loss.

Phillip Danault and Ryan Hartman were the IceHogs’ goal scorers. It marked the 6th goal of the season for each player. Charlotte’s Drew MacIntyre stopped 41 of 43 Rockford shots while Michael Leighton stood tall at the other end, making 43 saves.

But the struggling IceHogs’ scorers couldn’t get over the two goal hump for the 9th time over the past 11 games. Rockford’s averaging 1.7 goals per game over that stretch while allowing 2.4. Read more »

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Site notes: Mid-terms and Rankings; IceHogs injury updates [Updated]

By Chris Block

Just a couple quick notes ahead of the weekend.

Rockford IceHogs (21-12-3-1) will reach the halfway point of their season tonight when they host the Milwaukee Admirals inside the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. The ‘Hogs are 7 points up on Milwaukee in the standings, though the Admirals do hold three games in hand on Rockford. Ted Dent’s team leads its division (3rd in the conference) currently and remain 6 points up on both Grand Rapids and the Chicago Wolves, though each of those groups have multiple games in hand on the Hogs too.

Tonight is the back-end of a home and home set. Rockford lost 4-2 in Milwaukee last night. Phillip Danault and T.J. Brennan were the IceHogs’ goal scorers. Scott Darling was pulled in the second period after allowing the 4th goal against 29 shots, but the defense in front of him on a couple of those goals offered little assistance.

Stephen Johns (concussion) continues to be sidelined since being injured on a Stephane Veilleux hit on November 26th in Rockford. That was the same night Curt Gogol broke Alex Broadhurst’s arm when Gogol took a run at Broadhurst low in the IceHogs’ end. Read more »

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Clint Reif cause of death; Memorial Fund info

ClintReif

By Chris Block

The death of Chicago Blackhawks Assistant Equipment Manager, Clint Reif was officially ruled a suicide on Tuesday.

Reif, 34, was found hanging and unresponsive in his Lombard home at 8:32 a.m. on the morning of December 21st, hours after returning home with the Blackhawks after a road game in Columbus, Ohio the previous evening. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Lombard police and fire department.

The DuPage County Coroner’s office ruled the cause of Clint Reif’s death as “Asphyxiation due to hanging” in a brief statement released on Tuesday, January 6th.

Reif’s death had been an open investigation until Tuesday, when the coroner’s office and Lombard police closed the case after the results of toxicology exams were returned. There was no autopsy performed.

He was in his ninth season as an assistant equipment manager for the Blackhawks after spending one season with the Chicago Wolves. Prior to that, Reif worked for various minor league teams in Alabama, Florida and the Fort Wayne Komets, who Reif worked for while he attended high school from 1996 to 1999.  He graduated from Snider High School in 1999. Reif spent his teenage years in Fort Wayne after his family moved there from Chicago in 1993.

Reif is survived by his wife, Kelly, and four children – three daughters and a son.

A memorial fund has been set up for Reif’s children. Donations can be made to:

The Clint Reif Memorial Fund
c/o J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
120 E. Wesley Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

There will also be a Blackhawks Fan brunch on Sunday February 8th at The Ogden Chicago, 1659 W. Ogden Avenue from 11am to 3pm. The Blackhawks play in St. Louis at 11:30am on NBC that day. The brunch buffet costs $18.95 with a portion of that money going to the Clint Reif Memorial Fund.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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Raanta backstops 4-0 shutout of Leafs on emotional day for the Blackhawks

By Michael Calvert

Sunday night, the once hot, but now cold Maple Leafs came into Chicago on the heels of being blown out by Philly at home. Their luck wasn’t much improved as Raanta was as solid as need be and the Hawks put together a tight, complete game on their way to a 4-0 shutout.

Brad Richards was not in the lineup so the lines looked slightly different: Read more »

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Hawks 8-game win streak snapped by Islanders

By Chris Block

The Blackhawks 8-game winning streak came to an end on Long Island on Saturday night.

Dan Carcillo put the Hawks ahead for exactly six seconds in the second period when Jaroslav Halak stopped his shot but had the rebound pop high in the air and come down bouncing off the back of his head and into the back of the net. But a bad Duncan Keith giveaway in front of Scott Darling handed Cal Clutterbuck the tying goal six seconds after the Hawks took the lead.

Patrick Kane later notched his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Then the tide turned once again after a Kris Versteeg penalty midway through the third. Kyle Okposo nailed a Darling rebound on the ensuing New York power play. On the next shift the Hawks watched Isles’ defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky dance through their zone and rip a shot by Darling’s stick to take a 3-2 lead, one Halak and the Islanders would not relinquish.

Darling was the star of the game for the Hawks. He stopped 38 shots in taking the 3-2 loss. Halak faced just 25 shots at the other end.

The second period was one of the Hawks’ worst periods of the year, but that’s not to take anything away from the Islanders, who were the better team overall in the latter two-thirds of Saturday’s contest. 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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Phillip Danault talks NHL call up, Experience playing for coach Joel Quenneville

Danault_2014Oct11_IceHogs_500x333Phillip Danault battles with Joe Piskula on Opening Night
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs


By Chris Block

On November 20th, Phillip Danault got the call he’d been working toward for a decade.

That night, while the Blackhawks were in Calgary skating against the Flames, Danault received a call from Rockford IceHogs GM and Blackhawks’ director of minor league affiliates, Mark Bernard.

The news was good. Danault got word he was being called up to the NHL. He immediately began packing his bags and was to be on the first flight out of O’Hare airport to Edmonton the next morning. Danault arrived in northern Alberta just in time to join his new teammates for the final seconds of that Friday morning’s practice.

Danault, 21, made his NHL debut the very next night, on November 22nd in Edmonton. He centered the Hawks’ fourth line and even got in a few power play shifts after the game got out of hand at Rexall Place. Danault didn’t make it onto the scoresheet, though the Hawks won 7-1. Read more »

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