Tag Archives: Jeff Taffe

Update on Stephen Johns, BMO $1.5M upgrades, Saad All-Rookie team, Danault, Karlsson, Waite and Stan and USA Hockey

By Chris Block

Some news and notes to kick off what appears will be a very eventful weekend.

–We’ll have full, pick-by-pick coverage on this site of the Blackhawks’ draft selections this Sunday from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Chicago currently owns picks in the last pick in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds.

Their 2nd and 3rd round selections were dealt to Winnipeg at the trade deadline in 2012 in exchange for Johnny Oduya.  The Blackhawks also owned extra picks before dealing them for Michal Handzus (San Jose’s original pick in the 4th round reacquired from CHI) and Henrik Karlsson (originally Ottawa’s 7th round pick).

–If you missed the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade and rally on Friday , it will be rebroadcasted tonight (Saturday) on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago at 7pm.

Brandon Saad was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team on Saturday.

Saad joins Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau (Calder Trophy winner for best rookie), Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher (a Calder Trophy finalist as well as Saad), goalie Jake Allen of St. Louis and defenseman Jonas Brodin of Minnesota and Justin Schultz of Edmonton.

Interesting to note, yet not surprising considering he wasn’t a Calder finalist, that Nail Yakupov, who led all NHL rookies in scoring this season with 17 goals and 14 assists was left off the All-Rookie team.  That doesn’t happen often.  Read more »

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TTMI~Radio, e.89 – “‘Hog Changes” w/ Mike Peck, voice of the Rockford IceHogs

On this edition of TTMI~Radio I’m joined by Mike Peck, the voice of the Rockford IceHogs.

Mike returns to help us preview the 2011-12 IceHogs’ season by examining the coaching change, new bench boss Ted Dent and the AHL squad’s roster turnover.  We also get Mike’s scouting report on Brandon Segal, who spent the last half of the 2004-05 season in Rockford while a member of the Nashville Predators’ organization.

We also take a look at important players up front and on the defense this year in the wake of key losses offensively as well in experience and leadership.  Ben Smith, Joe Lavin, Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin are discussed as well.  We also get an update on rink refurbishments currently going on at the Beemo Center.

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Thanks as always to Mike for taking time out to speak with us.

Rockford IceHogs single-game tickets are now on sale at IceHogs.com or you can buy tickets by calling (815) 968-5222.  Advanced single-game tickets are available starting at $7.00, up to $22.00.  Day-of-game sales are an additional $1 per seat.

The IceHogs open their regular season home slate on Saturday night October 8th against the Grand Rapids Griffins. You can view the entire IceHogs’ schedule here or in printable PDF form here.

Rockford will also host two preseason home games at BMO Harris Bank Center (formerly the MetroCentre).  The first versus the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night September 28th at 7:05pm.  Then on Saturday October 1 against the Peoria Rivermen, also at 7:05.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Campoli comments on Chicago; Lapointe, Bell, Broadhurst and other news and notes


Chris Campoli
this past Thursday on his stay in Chicago

I have nothing but great things to say about it.  It didn’t work out contract wise with them, but they’re a first-class organization.  The fans were unbelievable.  The city is absolutely amazing.  I really enjoyed being there and I was very fortunate to be able join the team when I did.”  [Fan 590 Toronto]

He wasn’t asked at all about the failed negotiations with the Blackhawks.  This also a day after the Hawks officially cut Campoli loose on the UFA market.  The Chicago comments came as Campoli was asked to summarize or compare each place he’s played thus far in the NHL.  Simply a waste of time, a terrible interview.

Martin Lapointe, who’s served as a pro scout for the past two seasons, is no longer listed in that, or any other capacity on the Blackhawks official web site.

In case you hadn’t heard…. Read more »

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Barons bang ends IceHogs’ streak; Blackhawks pick Gilbert to join Hogs

Rockford can go without seeing the Oklahoma City Barons for another seven months.

The bubble burst on Rockford’s five-game winning streak and overall recent upswing in the form of a 7-0 pummeling Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Hannu Toivonen made his fifth start in six games but was pulled in favor of Alec Richards during the first intermission.  Toivonen allowed three goals on nine shots.  Richards didn’t fair much better, letting another three by himself in the second period.  Richards stopped 14 of 18 Barons overall in finishing the game.

Toivonen has been pulled from 8 of his 41 starts this season.  Four of those have come against the Barons.

Friday, Oklahoma City scored all seven of their goals at even strength.  The Barons did go 0 for 2 on the power play but one of those lasted just 26 seconds and by the time they got their second chance the score was already 6-0.

The IceHogs finish the season series with OKC at a record of 1-4-1-0.  They were dominated 29-16 (-13) in the scoring column and their lone win came back on Jan 2 in Oklahoma City when the IceHogs needed six goals to defeat the Barons 6-5. Read more »

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Injured IceHogs advance season-long win streak; Jimmy Hayes debuts

Hours after the Chicago Blackhawks and NHL office made his first professional hockey contract official, Jimmy Hayes got his first experience in the pro ranks for the Rockford IceHogs.

Under the guise of an amateur-try out contract, Hayes made his debut in Cleveland on Wednesday night as the IceHogs took on the Lake Erie Monsters.  Hayes’ entry-level pro contract with the Hawks kicks in on July 1st.

Hayes acquitted himself quite well in his unofficial pro debut.  He exhibited nice hands, decent wheels and didn’t seem too out of place all things considered.  The adjustment from college to the pro-pace wasn’t too much of a factor, at least in Lake Erie.  Oklahoma City on Friday poses a different challenge.

On his first shift, skating with Mathis Olimb and Ben Smith on the Hogs’ second-line Hayes showed good strides in transition leading a Hogs’ odd-man rush up the right side boards.  Hayes strung a slick pass just an inch or two further than Olimb could handle though, coming down just left of the slot and they didn’t get a scoring chance there.

In the middle period, Hayes again led a rush, but it also amounted to nothing.  Hayes was carrying the lead with Olimb and Andy Bohmbach on a 3-on-2, but Hayes lost the handle as he strode through the right circle.  He finished the game with three shots.  He’s not shy on the body but it appears he prefers to use his stick and he’ll have to shake that too much finesse with his head down college habit.  So its great for the Hawks, and IceHogs, Hayes is able to join up for some valuable minutes before an all-important off season.

Before the game Bill Peters noted he plans to dress Hayes in all seven (Wednesday included) of the IceHogs remaining games.  Peters was down six regulars (add another if you count Jeremy Morin) on Wednesday, so Hayes saw as much or more ice time as he figures to get in any single outing over the final two weeks of the season. Read more »

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PK perfect, Taffe clutch; IceHogs prevail 4-3 in OT, to be without Brophey after blindside head shot

 
The IceHogs faithful do finally have something to cheer about.

After dropping 9 of 12 home games dating back to mid-January, the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 overtime victory on Friday night gave the team something it hasn’t had all season – a 3-game home winning streak.

Friday’s win over the Hamilton Bulldogs also put the IceHogs within one game of the .500 mark in their own barn (16-17-2-2), and two wins short of an overall .500 record (30-32-4-5).

The IceHogs haven’t had a losing home record since entering the AHL in 2007. Including Saturday night’s contest, they have three dates remaining on the home slate, wrapping on April 8 & 9. Rockford will finish their 2010-11 season at Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday April 10 at 3 o’clock.

Rockford will first try for home victory number 17 on Saturday night when they host the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals defeated Chicago in Milwaukee on Friday 4-2. With the win, the Admirals stayed one point ahead of the Houston Aeros for the top spot in the West division and best record in the Western conference.

On Friday, the IceHogs persevered just enough through a tough third period to have a little Jeff Taffe magic lift them to victory in OT. Read more »

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Hogs win 2nd in a row, Taffe extends point streak, within one game of IceHogs’ record

In a season marred in disappointing results, regrettable periods and slow rookie progressions, one bright light has been the recent play of IceHogs’ veteran winger Jeff Taffe.

Taffe extended his season-long point streak to 14 games in a 4-3 overtime win over the Milwaukee Admirals last night before 5,907 fans at the Rockford MetroCentre.

Rockford won the game in overtime during a 4 on 3 power play.  Rob Klinkhammer, who was the first star of the night scoring two goals, his 9th and 10th on the season, drew a cross-check from Admirals’ defenseman Teemu Laakso an minute and a half into OT as Klinkhammer was driving to the Milwaukee net for one of his many prime scoring chances on this night. Read more »

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IceHogs look to build off win in Peoria, host Milwaukee tonight

After a spirited 4-2 win last night in Peoria, the IceHogs return home to MetroCentre in Rockford tonight for a clash with West Division leading Milwaukee Admirals.

Tonight will be the 8th in 10 season matchups between these two teams.  Rockford comes in 2-3-1-1 against Milwaukee this season.  The IceHogs have been outscored, 16-20.  Rockford’s power play has lit the lamp 5 times in 26 chances (19.2%), while the penalty killing units have held Milwaukee to just four goals (24-28, 85.7%).  Five of these games have essentially been decided by one goal (the Feb 4th contest at MIL saw Brett Palin pot an empty-netter to give the Admirals a 4-2 victory) and three have needed overtime, two of those extending to a shootout.

Rockford should be looking to extract a measure of redemption for a porous showing in the Bradley Center two weeks ago when the Admirals jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the 16:45 mark of the opening period.  IceHogs head coach made two goaltending switches in the first period; Alec Richards to Hannu Toivonen and back to Richards.

Hannu Toivonen lasted barely two minutes in relief of Richards, allowing two goals on three shots.

With Richards securing Rockford’s win last night, he has now backstopped the team to their only three wins over the past five and a half weeks. 

Look for Richards between the pipes tonight.

Jeff Taffe continues to carry the burden of offense on his back along with his center, Ryan Potulny.

Taffe has a 13-game point streak going into tonight’s game.  9 goals and 11 assists over that stretch.  He’s also a minus-7 with 39 shots on goal (23.1 shooting percentage) in that time.  A lot of the damage he’s done this season has come with the man advantage.

Ryan Potulny has a 5-game point streak going as well.  4 goals and 3 assists for Potulny.  His plus/minus is even, with 14 shots getting to the net (28.6%) in his last five games.

Taffe is just two games shy now of the IceHogs’ AHL record for consecutive games point scoring streak.  A marker held by Martin St. Pierre.

Tonight’s scratches:  Brandon Pirri, Ryan Stanton, Jassen Cullimore, Ivan Vishnevskiy and Jeremy Morin.

SDP recalled

Rockford recalled 6-foot 7-inch defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin from the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) today.  The Montreal native and former Maine Black Bear appeared in 22 games with the Walleye since getting the assignment from Rockford to Toledo on January 8th.  Danis-Pepin played with Toledo last night in a 8-5 loss at Kalamazoo.  He was held off the scoresheet, but was a minus-4.

With Cullimore and Vishnevskiy already out with short-term injuries, the IceHogs were without an extra defenseman.

Danis-Pepin was drafted by the Blackhawks 61st overall in the 2nd round of the 2006 NHL Draft.  He signed his three-year entry level deal officially on July 8, 2009 and is under contract to the organization through the 2011-12 season.

In that game in Kalamazoo last night, Mitch Versteeg, the brother of former Blackhawks and current Phiadelphia Flyers winger Kris Versteeg, recorded a “Gordie Howe Hat-trick”, scoring a goal, picking up an assist on the first goal of the game and getting a fighting major with 3:29 left in the game.  Mitch is a 22-year old, 6’2 – 205 pound defenseman with no NHL affiliation.

Bill Peters’ lines tonight vs Milwaukee look like this:

Rob Klinkhammer – Ryan Potulny – Jeff Taffe

Mathis Olimb – Evan Brophey – Ben Smith

Kyle Hagel – Pete Leblanc – Igor Makarov

Brandon Bollig – Zach Torquato – Kyle Beach

On the defense:

Garnet Exelby – Dylan Olsen

Brian Connelly – Simon Danis-Pepin

Wade Brookbank – Shawn Lalonde

Notes:

Kyle Beach’s demotion to the fourth line, or stay there, is in no doubt related to an undisciplined slashing penalty Beach took late in the second period last night at Peoria.  With Beach in the box, Mark Cundari tied the game for the Rivermen.  Luckily for Beach and the Hogs, Jeff Taffe posted his second of the night moments later and Rockford would hold on.  But not enough to get Beach out of Peters’ doghouse tonight apparently.  Old habits die hard.

Zach Torquato was also recalled from Toledo.  He’s on an AHL contract with Rockford.

Consecutive games without a goal:  Jassen Cullimore (60), Chris DiDomenico (19), Simon Danis-Pepin (19), Shawn Lalonde (19), Dylan Olsen (19), Nick Leddy (12), Ivan Vishnevskiy (12), Mathis Olimb (11), Kyle Hagel (8), Ben Smith (8), Brandon Bollig (7), Igor Makarov (7), Wade Brookbank (6), Andy Bohmbach (5), Evan Brophey (5), Kyle Beach (3), Brandon Pirri (3), Brian Connelly (2), Pete Leblanc (2), Garnet Exelby (1), Ryan Johnson (1), Jeremy Morin (1), Ryan Stanton (1), Rob Klinkhammer (-), Ryan Potulny (-), Jeff Taffe (-)

Consecutive games without a point: Jassen Cullimore (16), Dylan Olsen (16), Chris DiDomenico (14), Ivan Vishnevskiy (12), Kyle Hagel (8), Brandon Bollig (7), Wade Brookbank (6), Evan Brophey (5), Ben Smith (5), Simon Danis-Pepin (4), Mathis Olimb (3), Pete Leblanc (2), Brandon Pirri (2), Garnet Exelby (1), Ryan Johnson (1), Shawn Lalonde (1), Nick Leddy (1), Igor Makarov (1), Jeremy Morin (1), Kyle Beach (-), Andy Bohmbach (-), Brian Connelly (-), Rob Klinkhammer (-), Ryan Potulny (-), Ryan Stanton (-), Jeff Taffe (-),

-Evan Brophey is without a helper in his last 21 games played

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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IceHogs mid-season swoon in detail, Morin injury update, stats and more

Rockford continues its busiest week of the season tonight when they bus to Rosemont, Illinois for the 7th of 10 matchups this season with the Chicago Wolves.  The two teams have split the games even so far.

As a team, the IceHogs have been nothing short of awful of late.

Rockford has lost 13 of their last 15 games (2-11-2-0).  Seven of those losses have come on home ice.  When this recent stretch of losses began back on January 21st, Rockford was three games above the .500 mark (19-16-1-4) having won seven of ten.

Today, the IceHogs (21-27-3-4) are deeply trenched in last place in the West division, trailing 7th place Chicago by 15 points.  With only 25 games left in the regular season, the IceHogs would essentially have to run the table now in order to grab a spot in the postseason.  Just two teams in the league (Adirondack and Bridgeport) hold fewer wins than Rockford.

The chief culprit in this recent swoon has been some inexplicable poor starts.

Dating back to Jan 21st, Rockford is being outscored 27-11 in the opening period.  It gets a little better in the middle stanza (10gf-15ga) while the 3rd period rings dead-even (14-14).

On five occasions in the last 15 starts, Rockford has trailed by two or more goals after the opening twenty minutes.  Three times, they trailed by three or more.  On Feb 13 at Milwaukee, the IceHogs trailed after the first period 5-1.

While the goaltending of Alec Richards and Hannu Toivonen has been less than adequate at times over the downturn, Rockford’s defense has largely been to blame. Read more »

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Hawks shed more salary, Trade Reasoner to Tallon

Today, general manager Stan Bowman afforded himself a little extra breathing room under the salary cap by trading centreman Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league forward Jeff Taffe.

The transaction marks the first between Bowman and his prior mentor, Dale Tallon, new GM in Florida.

Our Blackhawks depth chart and salary cap tracker have been updated.

As it turns out, Reasoner, who was acquired in the June 23rd trade with Atlanta which sent Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and 2007-2nd round draft choice Akim Aliu to the Thrashers, will leave the Hawks having never played a game with the organization.

Reasoner is scheduled to earn $1.15M this season and his cap hit of $1.2M is now off Chicago’s books.

The interesting part of the deal comes in the terms of Jeff Taffe’s contract.  Taffe played 61 of his 82 regular season games, while with the Panthers’ organization, with the Rochester Americans in the AHL.  In the first year of his two-season deal with the Panthers, Taffe was paid at a rate of $105,000 in the AHL (figures provided by CapGeek.com), and $500,000 in his 21 games with the NHL club.

For the 2010-11 season, however, Taffe’s contract calls for him to be paid $600,000 whether he plays in the NHL or the minors.

Taffe posted 1 goal and 1 assist in those 21 games with the Panthers as a fourth line forward mostly.

In Reasoner, the Panthers get another dependable, versatile forward.  Tallon has focused on improving his depth up front since the draft and does further with this trade.  Reasoner, 33, is also a veteran with an expiring contract.  Reasoner will cost the Panthers $600,000 more than Taffe, however, Reasoner is a NHL-er, while Taffe isn’t likely to scratch an NHL ice surface aside from possible stints as an injury replacement.

Today’s trade served purposes on both sides.  The Blackhawks cut a few dollars under their salary cap in hopes of fitting new contracts for Antti Niemi, Bryan Bickell and Jordan Hendry under the cap maximum, while the Panthers cut salary expenses aimed for their AHL team.

As noted here before, the Blackhawks right now are concerned with two CBA related salary cap encumbrances – the $59.4M salary cap they have to be under prior to opening night of the 2010-11 season, and the $65.34M summer ceiling (the cap max + 10% summer cushion).

Per our calculations, the Blackhawks now have approximately $60.5M allocated to 17 players for the upcoming season.  This includes Cristobal Huet and Kyle Beach.  Without Huet, the Hawks are at $54.875M and have roughly $4.525M to spend on the last six open roster spots.  Or, $754,000 per available roster spot.

In some shape or form, Huet will come off the cap before opening night.  However, he cannot be assigned to Rockford until October.  Thus, his $5.625M cap hit does figure into the salary cap equation until his situation is resolved.  Hence, the Blackhawks currently have $4.84M of that “summer cushion” to play with and stay within the constraints of the CBA.

For the sake of argument, let’s stick to the non-Huet scenario.  The Hawks have $4.525M available to spend on six roster slots.  One being the second goalie position.  If Niemi signs with a cap hit of, let’s pick a number, $2.25M, this would leave $2.275M with five spots open.  That’s an average of $455,000 per player and since the league minimum is $500,000, the numbers still don’t add up.  Corey Crawford‘s cap hit alone is $800,000, and he will replace Huet’s vacated roster spot.  If it comes down to it, the cap could be Crawford’s nemesis yet again.  Hannu Toivonen is a quarter of a million more affordable at $550,000.

Stay tuned.  Today won’t be Bowman’s last rotation of the cap-shredder.  Whether Niemi stays or not is ultimately irrelevant to the bigger cap solution.  Unless Bowman resolves to defend the Stanley Cup with a Crawford and Toivonen as his goaltending tandem, another significant contract has to depart.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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