Tag Archives: Interview

Special Audio: Tim Sassone Tribute podcast with Chris Kuc, Brian Hedger, Al Cimaglia and Lindsey Willhite


By Chris Block

On Wednesday, I was honored to be joined by four friends of the late, great 25-year veteran of the Chicago Blackhawks beat, Tim Sassone.

Sassone was 58 when he succumbed to illness on March 25, 2014.

53 weeks from that day, his friends, former colleagues and competitors assembled to pay tribute to Sassone, one of the greatest sports writers Chicago has known.

I am joined by Al Cimaglia [Sirius/XM Radio] and Brian Hedger [NHL.com] for the bulk of the show. Cimaglia and Hedger swap stories of Sassone’s influence and generosity, while sharing their personal experiences and thoughts on the man each called a friend.

Then I welcome Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, Sassone’s closest friend on the Blackhawks beat. Kuc and Sassone worked alongside each other from 2007 up until Tim’s passing.

For the first ten minutes of his segment, Kuc helps us dissect the big news of Wednesday. We discuss Patrick Kane participating in his first Blackhawks practice since fracturing his collar bone five weeks ago, and speculate as to what Kane’s timetable for return looks like now.

Then, Kuc shares his experiences working alongside his great friend.

Hedger and Cimaglia stay with me a give their reactions to Kuc’s comments and more on Sassone at and away from the rinks.

Finally, I sit down with Lindsey Willhite, formerly a teammate of Sassone’s at the Daily Herald. Lindsey is now the Public Relations Director for the Chicago Wolves. He shares his experiences meeting and learning under Sassone, following Tim around the day the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup in Philadelphia and the time he answered Sassone’s desk phone at the Daily Herald offices and it was Jeremy Roenick on the other end of the line.

In closing, I give my thoughts on the impact Tim Sassone had on me and talk about having the opportunity to work alongside him myself and my regret in the last interaction I had with Tim.

Click to listen below, or Right-Click Here to Download the MP3 file

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more »


Van Riemsdyk On Long Road Back to the NHL

vanRiemsdyk_courtesy_IceHogs_2015Mar18_ADR_2_458x500Trevor van Riemsdyk, Wednesday March 18th in Rockford
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

Back-to-back serious injuries have posed a challenge to the bright, young career of Trevor van Riemsdyk.

The 23-year old New Jersey native, affectionately known by Blackhawks fans now as ‘TVR’, had his rookie season derailed after 18 games on November 16 when he blocked a Trevor Daley shot off the side of his left knee in the first period against the Dallas Stars, which was also the night of Brad Richards’ 1,000th game.

“I couldn’t tell at first. I just knew that it hurt,” said van Riemsdyk when asked if he knew the severity of the injury right away. “But I didn’t know how serious it could be. So then I got the x-ray done and that was that.”

Further examinations determined van Riemsdyk had suffered a fractured left patella bone and he underwent surgery four days later. Doctors projected he would need 3-4 months of recovery time. A hundred and seventeen days went by before van Riemsdyk would play in his next game. Read more »


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 »


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 »


Podcast news and updates; Fantasy Poolies, Audio talking Richards, Clendening, Dahlbeck, Teuvo, Hayes and more

By Chris Block

Just a few pieces of site business to start with here today…

TTMI Fantasy Hockey openings

–First, I do want to mention that we are doing another season of Fantasy Hockey that you can be apart of.

A few spots remain available for our leagues, and drafts are Tuesday night, so you don’t have much time to get in. Email me at ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com if you want in.

The draft will be held live, online on Monday night. Though, if you can’t join in for the live draft the Yahoo servers will auto pick your team for you. You can also pre-rank all NHL players prior to the draft so you have a better chance of getting the players you want if you can’t draft live.

Puck Chatter Radio

Also, Monday night – the return of PuckChatter~Radio.  We have a lot to discuss.

Al Cimaglia and I will be live at 7:30pm central at BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn.

If you can’t listen in live, the show will be available for download almost immediately following the show at that same link, here on this web site and also on Itunes. Read more »


One-on-one interview with Joakim Nordstrom

Nordstrom_Joakim_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov09vsIowaJoakim Nordstrom battles for position with Iowa’s Tyler Graovac Nov 9th
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil


By Chris Block

Joakim Nordstrom returned the Rockford IceHogs lineup on Saturday in Charlotte after being reassigned by the Blackhawks the previous day.

Nordstrom, 21, posted a goal and an assist in the IceHogs 5-3 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday night.  He was also a stunning plus-4 in the game.  Overall this season with the IceHogs, Nordstrom has skated in 16 contests, notching 6 goals and 2 assists to go with a plus-4 (plus/minus) rating.  Modest offensive numbers, though the Swede is scoring at a 20.0% shooting percentage (6/29). Read more »


Exclusive interview with Kyle Beach, plus Ted Dent talks Beach’s absence from the IceHogs lineup

BeachKyle_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013_Nov30Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

By Chris Block

After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.

Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.

Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick. Read more »


Audio: Interview with Blackhawks 1st round draft pick and IceHogs defenseman, Dylan Olsen


By Chris Block

The Rockford IceHogs open their 2013-14 this weekend in Texas and Chicago Blackhawks 2009 1st round draft pick Dylan Olsen is looking to put a disappointing 2012-13 season behind him.

We caught up with Olsen in Rockford this past Saturday.

In this interview, Olsen discusses his goals for this season, working his way back up the ladder in the Hawks organization, being tougher to play against, an increased role in Rockford, working with new assistant coach Mark Osiecki, how he spent his summer and much more.

Click the play button below to listen (Flash player required)…

Or, Right-Click Here to Download this 8-minute interview

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you missed our season preview chat with IceHogs coach Ted Dent, you can check that out here.



Audio: Rockford Season Preview interview with IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

Dent_Sweden_20120821Rockford IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

On Saturday, we had a chance to chat with IceHogs head coach Ted Dent about the upcoming 2013-14 American Hockey League season.

Over the course of the interview, Dent discussed how he and his coaching staff are preparing for the season, working with the Chicago Blackhawks prospects, his team’s depth at center ice and on the blue line; and first round draft picks Kyle Beach and Dylan Olsen.

We also discussed Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman recently stating publicly that the development of their top players in Rockford is more important than actual wins and losses on the ice.

Its a good, informative conversation. Check it out.

Click the play button below (Flash player required) to listen,

Or, Right-Click here to download the 18 minute interview.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can follow the IceHogs coach on Twitter… @TDent10

[Note: This interview was conducted on Saturday September 28th, prior to Kyle Beach being assigned to play for the HV 71 club in the Swedish Hockey League (formerly Swedish Elite League).  With HV 71, Beach will be teammates with former Chicago Wolves forwards Brett Sterling and Jason Krog.  We’ll have much more on this on Monday.]


Ben Smith says he doesn’t regret fight that cost him a chance to make the Blackhawks for 2nd straight season; For now, focused on leading the IceHogs

Smith_Ben_IceHogsphoto courtesy of the Rockford IceHogs

The following is the piece published in Tuesday night’s issue of The Committed Indian, the official~unofficial Chicago Blackhawks home game night program, which you can buy individual copies or subscribe to at this link.

By Chris Block

You have to focus on what’s right in front of you and I think at that moment …  I was focused on winning two points against Grand Rapids and fortunately that night we did.Ben Smith

With the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining dispute having been settled and NHL training camps set to commence in less than three days, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith took to the BMO Harris Bank Center ice in Rockford on January 11th to face off with the IceHogs division-rival, and Detroit Red Wings farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

At this time Smith was the IceHogs’ leader in goals scored, game-winning goals, a member of both the first-team power play and penalty killing units and among the top three forwards in ice time on a nightly basis.

And on a team up to that point which couldn’t help itself but take careless or undisciplined minor penalty after minor penalty, Smith had just 4 penalty minutes on the season and had not stepped foot in the penalty box since mid October.  That’s quite the accomplishment for the gritty and tenacious two-way forward Ben Smith is. Read more »