Feb 242012
 

By Chris Block

On Friday, the Blackhawks officially signed Rockford IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton to a one-year, two-way contract.  The deal is for the remainder of this season.  Hutton was immediately then reassigned to the IceHogs by the Blackhawks.

With the IceHogs, Hutton has a record of 10-8-0-2 and owns a 2.93 goals against average and .902 save percentage.  His 21 starts and 10 wins lead the IceHogs.  With the exception of one period of relief of Alec Richards during a late October call up while Alexander Salak was away tending to the birth of his first child, all of Hutton’s numbers have been accumulated since his recall on December 3rd.

In 9 starts in the month of January, Hutton went 7-1-0-1 posting a 1.86 GAA and .934 save percentage.

Hutton signed a one-year AHL contract with the IceHogs on August 1st.

Unlike the situation last season with Garnet Exelby, who had signed a professional try-out contract with Rockford, Continue reading »

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Jan 222012
 

By Chris Block

Led by a red-hot Carter Hutton in goal and a stingy penalty kill unit that has now killed off 23 consecutive power plays against, the Rockford IceHogs completed a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Chicago Wolves Saturday with a 3-2 win in Rosemont, Illinois.

In front of 15,920 at Allstate Arena, the largest crowd the IceHogs have played in front of in nearly three years, Rockford accomplished a third period come back for just the third time this season, all three coming in the past fourteen days.  Saturday night’s victory also extended the Wolves losing streak to a season-high four games and brings Rockford’s road record to within one game of .500 at 9-10-1-2.

Carter Hutton stopped 37 shots on Saturday in his fifth consecutive start (4-1-0-0). In those five starts, Hutton boasts a 1.39 GAA and 95.1% save percentage.

Saturday re-matched two teams that had played 24 hours earlier in Rockford.  On Friday night, Rostislav Olesz’s goal midway through the second period stood as the difference in a 3-2 IceHogs’ victory. Continue reading »

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Jan 162012
 

TheThirdManin~Radio returns Tuesday night, January 17th at 8pm central.

You’ll be able to listen live here.

On this week’s show, we’ll compare and contrast this year’s Chicago Blackhawks to the 2010-11 team.  Also, we’ll take a look at the Rockford IceHogs’ weekend, why Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin were benched in Texas, an update on some injured Hogs and a look at Rockford’s goaltending.

It will also be the long-awaited return of the email bag including questions on trade possibilities, Kyle Beach, Akim Aliu, the Hall of Fame, Toews vs Datsyuk, my puppy dog and the terrible twos.  We’ll have an update on my retirement, how our resolutions are progressing and much more.  Join us on our road to 100.

TTMI~Radio ~ Feed
Subscribe to TTMI~Radio on ITUNES

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Jan 122012
 

By Chris Block

Jeremy Morin lit the lamp for his 7th and 8th goals of the season, but a series of IceHogs penalties swung the momentum Wednesday afternoon.  From there, the Chicago Wolves got two third period goals from Mark Mancari to defeat Rockford 4-2.

A mostly school kids field trip day crowd of 6,113 in Rosemont, Illinois witnessed their Wolves down the IceHogs for the fourth time in five meetings this season.

“Our penalty killing did a good job,” head coach Ted Dent said in the wake of the IceHogs’ 20th regulation loss (13-20-1-3).  “I thought some of the (penalty) calls were below average, but what can you do?” Continue reading »

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Jan 012012
 

By Chris Block

Recently, the IceHogs have put together some solid efforts.  That can be said for each of their last four outings post-Christmas.

The IceHogs, however, are not a good enough team to overcome its mistakes typically, as their 11-18-1-3 clearly proves.  Rockford has lost each of their last five games (0-4-0-1) and rank dead-last in the AHL, both in terms of their record and goals against (average of 3.8 per game).

Including Saturday night’s 3-2 regulation loss at Peoria, the team has lost its last three games by a margin of 4 goals, and that includes a late 145-foot empty netter by the Wolves on Thursday.  At home Friday night, the IceHogs battled hard to pick up a point and get the game to a shootout, but Alec Richards let pucks by on the first three shooters he faced and Rockford lost the game 4-3.

A short-handed squad of IceHogs traveled to Peoria on New Years Eve afternoon for their 9th meeting of the 2011-12 season with the Peoria Rivermen. Continue reading »

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Dec 212011
 

By Chris Block

If Rostislav Olesz is upset over residing in Rockford these days, he’s surely not showing his hand.

When asked last week if he was disappointed when he learned the Blackhawks were reassigning him to their American Hockey League affiliate, Olesz described his feelings a different way.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed,” he replied.

“The disappointment was sitting in the stands and watching the game up [with the Blackhawks].  To play six, seven minutes a game is disappointing for a player.”

Olesz does not seem as phased by the demotion as he probably should be.  The fact his one-way contract pays him the same no matter where he plays probably has that influence.

During his first three weeks with Rockford, Olesz turned down all media and interview requests, even from the IceHogs.  He’s not a very talkative guy.  Instead he says he wants to let his play do the talking.

The 26-year old, Czech-born left winger came over to the Blackhawks in the draft day deal that sent defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers.  Olesz said he learned of the trade on his first day back at home in the Czech Republic.

It was a man-for-man transaction.  One ‘bad’ contract for another.  In the deal, the Hawks gave themselves cap flexibility but also are now stuck with a player who they don’t have a place for, or know what to do with and they pay roughly half of what Campbell earned.

All along there was one caveat attached to the trade – the Panthers knew they were getting a top-end puck-moving defenseman who could eat a ton of minutes on their inexperienced blue line, while the Blackhawks had no idea what to expect from Olesz. Continue reading »

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Dec 132011
 

By Chris Block

Top Blackhawks prospect and Rockford IceHogs winger Jeremy Morin was suspended on Tuesday for the team’s next 3 games as result of an elbowing incident during Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss in Milwaukee.

With six minutes remaining in the second period, Morin collided with Milwaukee Admirals center Joel Champagne, while chasing a loose puck deep in the Admirals’ zone.

Morin’s elbow connected with the left side of Champagne’s jaw as Morin attempted to box his opponent off the loose puck in the right corner behind the Admirals’ goal line.

Champagne was moving on the ice but did lay prone for several minutes while attended to by both the IceHogs and Admirals trainers.  He was eventually placed on a backboard and stretchered across the ice before being sent to a hospital for further evaluation.

The play sequence began with a weak Champagne turnover in the neutral zone, forced by an Andrew Shaw backcheck.  Seconds later, Brandon Pirri gained the Admirals’ blue line by lifting a puck, tossed backhand across the ice, leading Shaw along the far boards.  Shaw won a one-on-one physical battle with defenseman Tyler Sloan and advanced that puck down low into the right corner.  At this point, Morin read the play and came down from the middle of the slot in pursuit of the puck.

Joel Champagne actually should have gotten to that puck first, but he was slow to get there.  Champagne saw Morin coming and pulled up to avoid a hit.  Morin had time to adjust, and instead of throwing a check on Champagne, Morin chose to box him off the puck since Champagne was, in effect, surrendering possession to Morin.  In seeing Champagne pull up and making his adjustment, Morin shifted his weight in turning his back to Champagne to shield the Milwaukee player off the puck.

As far as the elbow, Champagne was struck by an accidental blow from Morin’s left, trailing elbow. Continue reading »

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Dec 112011
 

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs were looking to get a win streak started against the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Thanks to a big game by Carter Hutton in net, Rockford goes up to Milwaukee with a chance for a weekend trifecta.

Hutton stopped 41 of 43 shots fired his way in 65 minutes, then turned away the Griffins when it counted in the shootout as the IceHogs outlasted Grand Rapids 3-2 for their second straight victory.

As was the case Friday in the win over Chicago, the Hogs would go down 1-0 in the first period.  With Brandon Bollig in the box for interference, Gustav Nyquist was the recipient of a nice rebound off a shot from Brendan Smith. Nyquist knocked the puck past Hutton as Grand Rapids converted on their second power play of the night.

There would be no explosion of goals to follow. The IceHogs were outshot 14-5 in the first 20 minutes and failed to convert on any of their five power play attempts on the night. Continue reading »

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Dec 102011
 

                           

By Chris Block

A combination of Rockford’s offense gaining new life and Carter Hutton’s 32 saves ended the IceHogs’ four-game losing streak and lifted the baby-Hawks to a 6-3 win over rival Chicago Wolves.

“It was huge,” alternate captain Brett McLean said of the swoon-snapping victory.  “We felt lately that maybe we had not gotten the results that we’ve deserved.”

After scoring just five goals total in their previous four games, the IceHogs’ offense exploded for a four-goal first period and six goals in all before a crowd of 4,272 at BMO Harris Bank Center.

“It was a good, hard-paced fast game,” said IceHogs’ head coach Ted Dent.  “I thought we played as close to a 60-minute game as we could.  There were a couple breakdowns in the second period, but other than that, I thought we played a solid game.”

Carter Hutton made his third-consecutive start since being recalled from Toledo last weekend after the Alexander Salak injury.

“I thought he was good, especially on the power play in the third (period),” Dent said of Hutton’s performance after his team defeated the Wolves for the first time this season in three matchups.  “I thought he was solid.  He gave us a real good chance to win tonight.” Continue reading »

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Dec 092011
 

By Chris Block

It’s another 3-in-3 this weekend for the Rockford IceHogs, beginning tonight when the Chicago Wolves drive up Interstate 90 to the BMO Harris Bank Center for a 7:05 puck drop.

The Wolves have won each of two meetings two far, a back-to-back, home and home affair on October 21-22.  Rockford and Chicago will see each other 12 times this season.  The final meeting coming on Sunday February 26th in Rockford.  After tonight, the two teams will next face off on December 29th at Allstate Arena.  So, the other eight meetings will come in January and February.

Chicago (9-8-1-3) is 4th in the West Division, sitting 5 points (and with a game in hand) above 5th and last-place Rockford.  It’s already becoming a broken record, but the IceHogs really need these two points tonight to keep from falling too far behind the pack.

Saturday night, Grand Rapids visits the BMO.  It will be the final time this season to see Detroit Red Wings prospects at the BMO.  Rockford has defeated the Griffins in two meetings already this season, including a 3-2 opening night victory in front of a crowd of 5,434.  The two teams will wrap their 4-game season series this coming Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.

On Sunday, the IceHogs travel to Milwaukee (13-6-0-1) for their first visit to the Bradley Center this season.  These two teams have yet to face off in 2011-12 and will do so 12 times before its all said and done.  The Admirals are a modest 6-4 at home this year.  By Sunday, Milwaukee will also be playing their 3rd game in as many days as they host Grand Rapids tonight, and visit the Chicago Wolves tomorrow evening.

Watch the IceHogs: Tonight’s Rockford IceHogs – Chicago Wolves game will be televised locally in Chicago by the Wolves at 7pm on My50-Chicago, WPWR channel 50. Continue reading »

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