Tag Archives: Marcus Kruger

Blackhawks off to roaring start, blast through the defending champs 5-2 in LA

By Brad Gardner

Three months late, the Chicago Blackhawks finally kicked off the new season on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks were sharp with the puck and got off to a quick start, eventually coming away a 5-2 victory.

Although badly out-hit in the game by the Kings (39-22), the Blackhawks managed to get off to the quick start and hold the lead. The PK unit turned in a perfect effort, killing off five penalties in the game (although the final Kings advantage lasted only the final 36 seconds of the game).

Less than two minutes into the game, Patrick Sharp drew the first penalty. Then 40 seconds into that man advantage, Trevor Lewis cross-checked Jonathan Toews into the corner boards to put the Blackhawks on a 5-on-3 power play. The first unit maintained the offensive zone throughout the two-man advantage, in part because of a hustle play by Marian Hossa to keep the puck in the zone, and Patrick Kane eventually cashed on a one-time blast from a sharp angle. Hossa, who lined up on the point for this power play, got the primary assist for putting the puck in Kane’s wheelhouse. Read more »

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Blackhawks preview: It’s Time to Step Up

By Brad Gardner

After two consecutive first-round playoff exits, the entire Blackhawks organization has a lot at stake heading into the abbreviated 2013 season. For better or worse, the club entered training camp with a roster that was very similar to the 45-win team from a season ago. The only new additions – defensemen Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank – do not figure to see huge roles during the upcoming season. If the Blackhawks are going to put the last two seasons behind them, they will need bigger contributions from the following groups of players with something to prove this season.

Goaltenders

The last time the Blackhawks entered a season with the same goaltending tandem as they utilized the year before was 2007-08, when Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Lalime returned to the Chicago crease for a second season together. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery will be relied upon to secure wins this season, something that is even more important out of the gate as the skaters get back into game shape and adjust to the breakneck pace of the compacted schedule. Read more »

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Blackhawks recall 4 players from IceHogs, Ben Smith not one of them; Smith comments; Morin on roster shakeup

By Chris Block

While it can’t officially be announced until after the NHLPA membership ratifies the new CBA on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks have jumped the gun a bit by recalling four players from AHL Rockford.

Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig were all recalled by the Blackhawks on Monday January 7th.  This, one day after the NHL and Player’s association hammered out the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement to end the NHL Lockout.

All four players were held out of Rockford’s home game Wednesday night against first-place Grand Rapids.  The transactions will be made official this weekend.  Three of the four were in Chicago skating with most of the other Blackhawks players at informal on-ice workouts beginning Tuesday.  Nick Leddy joined in on Thursday.

One player who was surprisingly left out of the initial group of four call-ups is Rockford IceHogs alternate captain, and the team’s leading goal scorer, Ben Smith.

Smith, 24, scored his 15th goal of the season on Wednesday night.  He also ranks second in points scored by an IceHogs player, 26, seven behind team captain Martin St. Pierre. Read more »

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Waiting on Mikita: Frozen thoughts from outside the BMO

By Jon Fromi

With Stan Mikita gracing the Forest City (more specifically the BMO Center) Saturday, my pal and I made it our goal to be among the first go-getters to cue up in the signing line. I’ve found myself waiting outside the season-ticket entrance on occasion, most notably an extended wait on Tony Esposito last February. Three hours? No problem. Yeah, right.

Mother Nature provided an optimal day on that February afternoon, with sunny skies and spring-like temperatures. I didn’t expect to be so lucky Saturday, and of course the weather told a different tale.

Did we have to be there at 1:45 p.m. to wait for the doors to open at 5:45? Of course not, but think of all the conversation I would have missed.

The odyssey (or not, since we stood in the same place for the bulk of it) began with our arrival to find that five individuals had beaten us to the front of the line. As the line began to lengthen over the course of the afternoon, conversation naturally fixated on the IceHogs. Read more »

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Ted Dent says some supposed NHL guys not pulling their weight; Blackhawks brass forcing more lineup changes; Tonight’s game preview

By Chris Block

Riding a four game losing streak (0-3-1-0), the Rockford IceHogs drive 93 miles northeast tonight where they’ll visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center to face off with the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time in six days.

The lone point Rockford has picked up in those four contests came in a 4-3 overtime loss in Milwaukee this past Friday.  Rockford trailed the Admirals 3-1 midway through that game until goals by Brandon Pirri and captain Martin St. Pierre forced an overtime session.  However, a breakdown in the IceHogs end resulted in Kevin Henderson surprising Carter Hutton with the game-winning shot a minute and forty-five seconds in to send the IceHogs back to Rockford with only the one consolation standings point.

Although the IceHogs (13-12-1-1) have lost both of their games since dropping first-place to the Griffins in Grand Rapids on December 9th, that one point earned in Milwaukee has been enough force Rockford back into a tie with Grand Rapids for the top spot in the Midwest Division.  The Griffins has also lost their past two games since moving into first in the division.  Grand Rapids hosts the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena.

The Midwest division race is as tight as it could possibly be, now a third of the way through the 76 game American Hockey League season.  One point separates last-place Milwaukee (12-11-2-1, 27 points) from Grand Rapids and Rockford in the top spot. Read more »

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Chris Block joins the Hockeenight Puckcast for a special Holiday podcast

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of joining CT and the “Forklift” on their groundbreaking, award-winning HockeeNight PuckCast.

As always when Hockeenight and TTMI join together, we ran the usual gamut of topics.  We review the NHL’s class action complaint filed against the NHLPA in a New York court on Friday and the damning quotes from Jonathan Toews and Troy Brouwer cited in the motion.

We discuss all the latest on Blackhawks prospects including Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith and Fork’s favorite, Jeremy Morin.  Also, we broach the Blackhawks directive to IceHogs coach Ted Dent to move Andrew Shaw back to center, and what may have gone into that decision – the Jeremy Roenick autobiography, “torpedoing” Jimmy Hayes, Malort~!, Gary Bettman’s standing in the face of his third work stoppage, how the 5% variance would effect teams should it be realized, George “the Animal” Steele and some professional wrestling history.

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PuckChatter~Radio: Sam Fels on the IceHogs & CBA

By Chris Block

Sam Fels, lead Blackhawks maven at TheCommittedIndian.com was kind enough to join me Monday night for the jam-packed return edition of PuckChatter~Radio.

In great detail, we recapped the Rockford IceHogs at the 28.9% mark of the AHL season as well as listen to some conversations we’ve had with a few IceHogs over the past few weeks.  There is a lot going on these days out in Rockford with the suddenly first-place IceHogs and we covered most of it.

We also touch on Tuesday’s much overhyped meeting between six NHL owners and as many NHL players – Is it more posturing and sideways negotiating by the Gary Bettman and the owners in attempt to undermine Don Fehr and divide the players, or is the league finally ready to work towards getting a deal done?  We discuss.  Also, Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill were named to the Canadian U20 World Championships selection camp roster on Monday.  How do they fit and what are their chances of making Team Canada?

All this and more on this edition of Puck Chatter.

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Among the items broached on the show….

-A hockey magazine editor’s troubles with the English language
-Ted Dent talks about inconsistent play & Martin St. Pierre’s start
-Carter Hutton back on his game
-Is Nick Leddy not dominating the AHL a real problem?
-Kyle Beach’s newest move – the turtle and spear
-Jimmy Hayes talks about his transition from wing to center
-Perhaps how the Hayes-to-Center decision came about
-Surprising facts & truth on how the “experiment” is working out
-What the Hayes move says about Hawks true depth at center
-Adam Clendening’s mustache
-Jeremy Morin talks finding his scoring touch & a full off season
-Chris Block says weird things & asks odd questions
-Nick Leddy talks about his move to Left Defense & the CBA
-Stan Bowman’s ‘guys’ and where they stand
-Is Kyle Beach a power forward
-Couple of IceHogs approaching Franchise marks
-Blackhawks Board of Governors representatives
-Gary Bettman attempting to pitch a no-hitter
-IceHogs MVP
-A funny story about travels to the BMO Harris Bank Center 57:20
-And much, much more

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5 unanswered goals erase Hogs slow start in Charlotte

By Chris Block

Rockford continued its recent road winning ways with a 5-2 come from behind win before a crowd of 6,549 in Charlotte on Saturday night.  The IceHogs handed the Charlotte Checkers, the second-place team in the Western Conference, their 6th loss of the season though it was Charlotte’s 4th in 7 games in its home rink.

With the team’s hottest goal scorer, Andrew Shaw, out of the lineup serving a one game, and most recent, suspension Rockford looked to its big guns to pull them out of another big whole the team dug itself early on Saturday night.

The IceHogs got unanswered goals from Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and two from captain Martin St. Pierre.  The captain, recognized as one of the slickest set-up men in the AHL, also fell an assist shy of registering the Gordie Howe Hat Trick on Saturday.

Rockford has now strung four consecutive road wins together after starting the season 1-4-0-1 on opposing ice surfaces.

And, for the first time this season, the IceHogs sit two games above the .500 mark at 11-9-0-1 with their win in Charlotte. Read more »

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Rockford weekend wrap-up: IceHogs salvage first win on final night of 3-game weekend

{A huge thanks to Jon Fromi for sending in this IceHogs report since I was away this weekend for a wedding and have yet to see a second of the weekend’s games. –Chris Block}

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs managed to remove the goose egg from the win column in their fifth game of the 2012-13 season. After a weekend that started with back to back losses to Peoria and Charlotte, a crowd of just over 2,905 at the BMO Harris Bank Center watched Jimmy Hayes score his first two goals of the season in the third period as the IceHogs defeated the Checkers Sunday by a score of 5-4.

Charlotte found several ways to bounce pucks past Alec Richards, but Rockford was able to prevail with an offensive effort that was absent in a pair of one-goal defeats Friday and Saturday. Richards, who spelled Carter Hutton, picked up the win in his first start of the season, making 23 saves on 27 shots.

After a scoreless first period, Rockford staked a 2-0 advantage on goals by Martin St. Pierre and Brandon Pirri. St. Pierre took a feed from Marcus Kruger in the slot just 58 seconds into the second period to open the scoring. Pirri took a pass from Ben Youds late in the eighth minute, pulled up in the high slot, and sent a slap shot over the blocker of Justin Peters to give the IceHogs a two-goal lead at the 7:55 mark. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, e.118, Crazy Uncle Gary

By Chris Block

Listen at your own risk.  And with the sound low or through headphones if at work.

Gary Bettman got up on a podium Tuesday afternoon and made a point to declare he wasn’t one to negotiate through the media…. while he did just that.

However, the NHL did offer a potential major step forward to making a deal with the NHLPA on Tuesday to save the 82 game season and we break that down.

Also, the Rockford IceHogs opened their regular season with several Blackhawks in the lineup and came up on the short end in both of their games over the weekend.

We’ll also discuss Kyle Beach, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy, what we’ve been up to, the TTMI Fantasy Hockey League, bloggers and mysterious hand impressions over the urinal in the men’s room.

All this and much more on this edition of PuckChatter~Radio.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
PuckChatter@gmail.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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