Tag Archives: Jack Skille

Garnet Exelby now officially Blackhawk, Hawks Vegas details emerge, IceHogs, Mora story and more

[Update] Corey Crawford is starting in goal for the Hawks today at Anaheim. (Twitter.com/ChrisKuc)

Defenseman Garnet Exelby agreed to a two-way (NHL/AHL) contract with the Blackhawks yesterday.  As a necessary procedural thing, the Blackhawks then had to place Exelby on 24-hour waivers.  Once Exelby passes through his contract then becomes official.  If another team were to claim Exelby by 11am today, that team would then assume his new contract.

According to a CapGeek.com report this morning, Exelby’s contract is valued at the league-minimum $500,000 at the NHL level, and $105,000 in the AHL.

Exelby, 29, signed a professional tryout contract with the Rockford IceHogs on October 8th and was named team captain twenty-eight days later.

While a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization last season, Exelby appeared in 51 games with the Leafs, registering 1 goal and 3 assists.  He was then in the final year of a three-year contract that paid him $1.725M.

This season, Exelby has appeared in 18 of the IceHogs 19 games (only missing the team’s opener the day after he signed).  So far Exelby has no points and owns a minus-4 overall plus/minus rating.

Exelby is a physical, stay-at-home defenseman.  He’s not the fleetest of foot but he gets to where he needs to be and typically plays within his known limitations.  Exelby is a part of Rockford’s go-to crew of penalty killers and is almost never used on the power play. Read more »

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TTMI~Radio with Preds On The Glass

Buddy Oakes, of the Nashville Predators’ site PredsOnTheGlass.com joined us on this week’s TTMI~Radio.

We discuss all-things Predators as we preview Wednesday night’s game between the Predators and Chicago Blackhawks.  This will be the first of six matchups between these two division rivals.

The Third Man In ~ Radio ~ “Nashville Preview w/Preds On The Glass”
Tuesday October 12, 2010 ~ e.56
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Among the topics discussed on tonight’s show
– 2010 Conference Quarter-Finals – A Nashville Perspective
– Sergei Kostitsyn a Predator
– The greatness of Shea Weber
– Matt Lombardi a #1 center?
– “The Predator Way”
– Ex-Hawks J.P. Dumont and Steve Sullivan
– Fans discontent with Jason Arnott last season
– Barry Trotz’ iron-clad job security
– Acquisition of Shane O’Brien
– How, or if, Nashville franchise would benefit from having a true superstar on the ice
– Would the Preds & their fans accept Alexander Radulov back?
– The rocky career of David Legwand
All this and a bunch more with Buddy.

– Then, we discuss the Niklas Hjalmarsson blind side hit on Jason Pominville from Monday night’s game in Buffalo
– Was the 2-game suspension handed down by the NHL just?
– More on these kinds of hits and Ryan Miller’s reaction
– Impressions of the Hawks first three regular season games
– Including Nick Leddy, Viktor Stalberg, Jack Skille and Marty Turco

Our show returns next Tuesday night, October 19th @ 8pm.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Hawks Cut Morin, Details; Opener Roster Appears Set

On Monday, the Blackhawks assigned Jeremy Morin to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.  The decision ends an apparent late pre-season competition between Morin and 24-year old Vitkor Stalberg for a spot on left wing.

In the off season, Morin, 19, was acquired from Atlanta in the deal that sent Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel to the Thrashers.  Viktor Stalberg was the key return in the trade in which the Hawks sent Kris Versteeg to Toronto.

In the final exhibition game Sunday versus the Blues, Stalberg skated just under 9 minutes for coach Joel Quenneville, while Morin played 13:18 including several shifts on the power play.  Both were credited with two hits.  Morin registered two shots to Stalberg’s one.  Each picked up an assist while Morin finished a minus-1 and Stalberg a plus-1.  Morin’s effort leading to Marian Hossa’s deflection-goal during a second-period power play was a highlight of the game.  Afterwards, Quenneville called Morin’s night “okay.”

The move of Morin to the AHL trims the Blackhawks roster down to the maximum of 23 with the injury to Brian Campbell and demotion of goaltender Hannu Toivonen having previously gone down over the weekend.

Here’s how the opening night roster stacks up: (lines speculative)

Troy Brouwer – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Tomas Kopecky – Patrick Sharp – Patrick Kane
Viktor Stalberg – Dave Bolland – Fernando Pisani
Bryan Bickell – Ryan Potulny – Jack Skille
Jake Dowell

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Nick Leddy
Jordan Hendry – Nick Boynton
John Scott (W/D) – Jassen Cullimore

Marty Turco
Corey Crawford

Injured: Brian Campbell (sprained right knee; out 4-5 weeks)

Jack Skille (arm) is at this point still considered questionable for Thursday’s opener in Colorado.  Skille has said he thinks he’ll be ready.

Cullimore is still around in case the Hawks get cold feet with the Nick Leddy experiment or it simply doesn’t work out.  Cullimore had a better camp than most everyone is willing to give him credit for and while it may seem unfathomable to some, Cullimore is still a better option for Quenneville than rookies like Ivan Vishnevskiy or Brian Connelly.

If Skille can’t go Thursday, its very possible John Scott will dress as the 12th forward and Cullimore as the 6th-D against the Avalanche.  Remember, Nick Boynton will be serving a one-game suspension Thursday night for his throat-slashing gesture in the first exhibition game on September 22 in Winnipeg against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With Jake Dowell dressing the final two preseason games and Ryan Potulny watching those contests from the stands, it would stand to reason Dowell is getting the call to center the fourth line in Game 1 of 82.  Or, both Dowell and Potulny dress  (if Skille is out) in game one and Scott stands in as the 6th defenseman.

While Jordan Hendry didn’t do much this exhibition season to gain many’s confidence in his ability to anchor the third defensive pairing, the 5-6 duo needs the additional mobility neither Boynton or Scott can provide.  Thus, Hendry could have a longer rope.

In regards to the Morin demotion….

I think you’d be troubled to find a single person who felt Viktor Stalberg out-performed Jeremy Morin during the exhibition contests.  If this were a legitimate one vs one competition, Stalberg would be the player headed to the AHL.  But this obviously wasn’t.

There’s also not much to the notion Morin was a casualty of salary cap considerations.  While Morin’s 2010-11 potential performance bonuses total $170,000 more than Stalberg’s, those would be covered under the entry-level bonus cushion.  Also, Morin’s base salary and preliminary cap hit is $70,000 less than Stalberg’s.  So Morin’s preliminary hit is more favorable than Stalberg’s.  And if Morin were to stick all year at the NHL level and meet all his marks for those bonuses, I’m sure the Blackhawks wouldn’t mind.

More likely, if the cap figured into Morin’s case at all, is apparent inclusion of Nick Leddy on the opening night roster.  Leddy’s base salary according to numbers listed on CapGeek.com is $900,000.  Leddy also does not have attainable performance bonuses this season.  With Leddy in the mix on the Hawks’ blue line, the Hawks only have space for minimum sized contracts for the time being.  If Brian Campbell had not been injured Friday in the game with Pittsburgh, Leddy probably would not have made the team and Morin may have been rewarded with an early trial with the Hawks.

With Leddy in the picture, Morin had to beat out Stalberg since the contracts of Bickell, Skille, Potulny, Dowell, and even John Scott are all closer to the league minimum.  And ultimately, Morin doesn’t have to clear waivers while most of those players do, and that’s why Morin was never really in competition for a spot with anyone but Stalberg.  However, once Viktor Stalberg hits the 20 games played mark this season, he becomes waiver-eligible.  So you can see the pressure is on Stalberg to get going early or he could be headed to Rockford sooner than later after all.  Morin won’t become waiver-eligible until the 2014-15 season, or when he hits 160 NHL games played.

Stan Bowman, may also be looking to delay the passing of Jassen Cullimore through waivers until a few days after the season begins and teams set their initial rosters in case there would happen to be interest in him.  And there very well could be if you consider losing another veteran blue liner (Cullimore) would hurt the Hawks to a degree.  He hasn’t had a bad camp either.  While I’m pretty positive he’s not someone Bowman wants to see in any regularity in a Hawks uniform, Cullimore, who turns 38 in December, is still a veteran who could give the Hawks some minutes in a pinch and also has value skating with the young kids in Rockford.

While I don’t find the Morin cut as any great injustice, it is slightly disconcerting to see Bowman’s slight of Morin.  That said, Stalberg can erase those thoughts in a hurry if he gets off to a quick start this week.  And by all accounts, Morin is a determined, intelligent kid and this probably won’t set him back any.  He could also use the experience of a season in the AHL to learn the intricacies of the pro game and continued improvement on his skating.  He was only in the running for a spot this year to begin with because the Hawks’ depth up front so poor.

Stalberg posted 9 goals and 14 points in 40 games with the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs last season.  In Chicago, he’s greeted, yes, with more-accomplished teammates, but also with greater expectations.  The early returns simply won’t do.  Stalberg will find himself on the outs soon enough if he can’t find the net and help provide some offense on one of the top three lines.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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TTMI~Radio “The Waiting”

TheThirdManIn~Radio “The Waiting”
Thursday July 29, 2010 ~ e.46 ~
Right-Click to Download Here

Chris Block and Dieter Kurtenbach of Blackhawks Examiner review all the latest news including the Antti Niemi arbitration hearing, Stan Bowman’s conference call, new contract signings and the Cristobal Huet “era” in this edition of TheThirdManIn~Radio.

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TTMI~Radio returns this Monday, August 2nd @ 8pm (central) to review the fallout in the wake of the Antti Niemi arbitration verdict, as well as all the scoop from the Chicago Blackhawks Convention (which we won’t be attending).

For anyone who is heading out to the Convention, we’d like to hear about your experience or anything of note that wouldn’t be evident on internet videos or reported by mainstream media outlets.  You can send those to us at TheThirdManIn @ sbcglobal.net.

Discussed in today’s show:

– Niemi’s arbitration hearing
– A conference call about nothing
– Niemi’s potential realistic, and non-realistic contract awards
– Blackhawks value 3rd line centers higher than #1 goaltenders
– Block’s Niemi mea culpa
– How Corey Crawford impacts Hawks’ play on Niemi
– Jose Theodore = Huet version 2.0
– Rumor Niemi $4.0M demand: Outrageous or about right?
– Theodore/Turco won’t play for free
– Niemi Numbers & where major publication ranks him vs rest of league
– Hawk fans talking 2010 Cup run for granted?
– Misconception that Huet’s contract hurting Hawks
– The Huet “era”
– Dirk Graham and Ted Lindsay celebrating life
Jack Skille, in fact, takes a paycut
– Stan Bowman OWNS Bryan Bickell’s agent
– The future of Nick Leddy
– AT&T & I-55

…. and much, much more.  And as always, thanks very much to all who take the time to listen. 

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Hossa Marries, Skille Signs, Smitty Splits, Niemi Notes and movie star supports Blackhawks

Marian Hossa was married in Slovakia on Saturday.  Story and pics here.  (thanks to reader Dave for link) 

– While the Blackhawks have made no official announcement yet, Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times reported Thursday that Jack Skille has agreed to a one-year contract that will pay him $600,000.  This is roughly a 29% pay decrease from his entry-level contract.  We talked about this on Thursday’s TTMI~Radio. 

Skille received a qualifying offer (standard 1-year offer at 110% rate of prior year’s salary) in late June but chose to negotiate down to give himself a more cap-friendly contract.  Because of it, Skille is now an odds-on favorite to make the NHL club.  His speed and shooting ability still make the 23 year old an enticing prospect, but he’s never shown an ability to apply those tools in the NHL, the way he has in the minors.  Before Viktor Stalberg‘s arrival, Skille was the natural replacement for Versteeg.  Skille can throw his weight around, but its not his strength and he’s been overwhelmed going that route when with the Hawks.  He figures in as a third-line guy, which means he has to score.  Trouble is, as a shooter, he’s predictable and one-dimensional.  To be successful, he must go into the danger areas and score dirty goals.  He did a better job of that last year than ever before, when he was mostly a perimeter player.  Depending on how close Stan Bowman cuts his roster under the cap, training camp may still wind down to a battle between Kyle Beach and Skille for that third-line spot.  Skille isn’t a fourth line player and Beach will start in Rockford if he cant win a spot with the top three lines.

– According to published reports, and also still unannounced, Russian winger Igor Makarov, 22, signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Hawks last week.  His cap hit (unconfirmed) is said to be $552,000.  Makarov needs a little work and will start in the AHL with Rockford.  He was an exciting prospect, but his progression has been stunted in limited playing time in the KHL the past two seasons.  Makarov will turn 23 in September.  In the times I’ve seen him, he’s shown to have a great shot and reasonably quick release.  There are a lot of politics involved in who does and who doesn’t get ice time in Russia, but you’d think if Makarov’s talents were at the level of an NHL-er or at least a top prospect, he’d have been given much more playing time. Read more »

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TTMI~Radio “One Year Gone”

TheThirdManIn~Radio “One Year Gone”
One-Year Anniversary Show ~ Right-Click to download here
recorded Thursday July 15, 2010 ~ 4:30pm (central)

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http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn

That’s right.  It has been one year now since we’ve started this audio dealie.  Almost fifty in the can already and looking forward to the next fifty or more in the coming weeks and over the 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks season.

This show isn’t much of a celebration.  There was an attempt on my part to pull a HUGE guest.  Came close, but still another epic fail in the end.  I’ll add it to my collection.  Not many people are allowed to come on this show.  About as many are willing.  Maybe I should, but I don’t take it personally.

Anyhow, its great to be back in the swing of things and we’re looking forward to some special guests to help us bridge the gap between now and October.

On this show, officially our 45th (three or four others were quickly shelved or deleted due to intense technical drama), the “Superstar” returns from his two-month long hiatus to discuss a variety of topics, including, but not limited to:

– Steve Smith’s heavy lumber
– The Jack Skille Experience coming to an NHL Arena near you?
– An amateur, imitation Blackhawks writer – habitual kleptomaniac
– Igor Makarov leaving his Mother Russia
– Blackhawks seriously lacking in “little geeks willing to get their asses pounded”
– Colin Fraser, Danny Richmond sign new deals with Canadian teams
– Kyle Beach prefers to beat on smaller guys
– Puke on ice
– “Blackhawks Night” at the Cell
– “Mullet-style” music – whatever that’s supposed to mean
– White Sox organization debasing the Hawks and their fans cleverly
– Mike Modano slams a nasty rumour
– Slamming Wisconsin
– The passing of Bob Probert
– The real story behind his Blackhawks’ career
– Angry folks
– Superstar evidently makes a great point, but Block is not listening
– Niklas Hjalmarsson is a bad man
– Antti Niemi isn’t going anywhere
– What the Blackhawks have really lost off the Cup-winning roster?
– Viktor Stalberg: The next Great Swedish Superhero?
– And much, much more…..

It’s a fine line between creativity and stupidity.  It’s TheThirdManIn~Radio.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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