Tag Archives: Pete Leblanc

Blackhawks re-acquire Michal Handzus, send Brandon Bollig back to Rockford; More roster notes

MichaelHandzus_Flow

By Chris Block

Chicago Blackhawks on Monday acquired center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth round selection in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

In 28 games this season with the Sharks, Handzus posted 1 goal and 1 assist.  He was a minus-9 while playing mostly third and fourth line minutes for the Sharks.

The pick the Blackhawks sent San Jose had originally belonged to the Sharks.  At the 2012 Draft, the Hawks and Sharks swapped 4th round picks, so the Sharks could move up and the Hawks could pick up an additional 7th round selection.  That later pick, obtained from San Jose, originally belonged to Tampa Bay which the Sharks obtained in a trade involving center Dominic Moore.  Chicago used the additional 2012 7th round pick (191st overall) to select goaltender Brandon Whitney of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), the same team Phillip Danault played for at the time.

Handzus turned 36 last month.  This will be his second stint with the Blackhawks organization.  He is now the second-oldest Blackhawk behind Jamal Mayers, who is 38.

Michal Handzus previously spent the 2006-07 season with the Blackhawks, appearing in only 8 games in October of 2006 before knee surgery ended his season.  Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio: The Blackhawks are really good

By Chris Block

PuckChatter~Radio returned from a 5-week hiatus Monday night simply to proclaim that the Chicago Blackhawks are, in fact, really, really good.  Yep, that’s about it.  But hey, we’re rusty.

Well, we did too discuss Duncan Keith and the level he’s been playing at thus far.  We also took a look at Brandon Saad’s game and what lineup change could benefit the team right now.

Also, we reviewed some of our 5 day Las Vegas visit over Super Bowl Weekend (if you’re hungry for more audio, I did two hours with Radio Exposed last week talking Vegas, the Super Bowl and many other things here) ; our experience at the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers 18 & Over Topless Hockey night game; some Rockford IceHogs news and notes; Adam Clendening, Philippe Paradis and Dylan Olsen sound clips; Valentine’s Day advice for the guys and a tribute to a friend.  The show is also interrupted and my co-host Superstar has to drop off for the remainder when a woman drove into the tree in his front yard driving 40 miles an hour. True story.  Apparently the woman is okay all things considered.

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At this point our next show is scheduled for Wednesday February 20th at 8pm central.  Tonight was also our first show using newly purchased recording equipment.  It seems to have worked out okay aside from a glitch you won’t notice right as we went live.

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IceHogs can’t bully lowly Bulldogs; Plug pulled on crucial 1st period video review going against ‘Hogs

By Chris Block

Looking to return to their recent winning ways and stay within striking distance of first-place Grand Rapids ahead of two all-important matchups next week at the BMO with those same Griffins, the Rockford IceHogs (17-14-1-1) traveled to Hamilton, Ontario on Friday night to face a down-and-out Hamilton Bulldogs squad.

Hamilton came into Friday’s contest against Rockford with the worst record (11-18-1-2) in the AHL.  Hamilton, the AHL affiliate to the Montreal Canadiens, had lost 8 of their past 9 contests since defeating Rockford 6-4 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on December 15th.

Worse yet, Hamilton had not scored a goal in more than three games before facing the IceHogs for the second and final time this season.  The Bulldogs had been shutout in each of their previous three games, all road losses.

For these reasons, and perhaps a little too much confidence in the way they’ve played of late, the IceHogs may have taken the Bulldogs for granted on Friday night.

Despite the IceHogs getting out to a quick start, sloppy passing and poor work in the defensive zone contributed to a 3-1 Rockford loss before a crowd of 4,505 at Copps Coliseum on Friday.

Backup Alec Richards got the start in net, his first in nine games.  Read more »

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IceHogs 3rd period rally answers coach’s challenge

By Chris Block

Looking to build on recent winning ways and retain their first place standing in the Midwest Division, the Rockford IceHogs played host to division rival Milwaukee Admirals, winners of three of its last four games.  Milwaukee also entered Friday’s contest riding a five-game point streak (3-0-2-0) as they recently have welcomed Ryan Ellis, Gabriel Bourque and Taylor Beck back into their lineup.

The IceHogs rose atop their division in winning 7 of its last 9 games, going from two games under .500 on Nov 16 to three games above .500 and in first place on Dec 2nd.

Friday also was the first of five meetings between the two clubs this month.  Milwaukee came into Rockford on Nov 10 and skated away with a 4-2 victory.  That night, the first of 12 times these two clubs will face off this regular season, Alec Richards was between the pipes for Rockford.

On Friday, Carter Hutton, the starter in the IceHogs last three games, all wins in which Hutton allowed a total of five goals, was back to face a Milwaukee team he went 8-1 versus last season.

Hutton was strong early Friday night but struggled to bail his teammates out when miscues and mental lapses plagued Rockford during a three-goal Milwaukee 2nd period. Read more »

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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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IceHogs struggles continue, Peoria snaps 7-game losing streak in Rockford

By Chris Block

Rockford let a good opportunity to get back to the .500 mark slip away on Wednesday night when they hosted Peoria, the team that had scored the fewest goals coming in as well as owning the worst record in the AHL.

The IceHogs received goals from Martin St. Pierre, Pete Leblanc, Brandon Saad and Jeremy Morin but four were not enough and Peoria stunned a sparse crowd of 2,205 at the BMO Harris Bank Center in defeating Rockford 5-4.

Wednesday’s game started out promising enough.

Although the IceHogs penalty woes surfaced early when Brandon Bollig added to Rockford’s league-leading total when he was sent to the box for tripping Evgeny Grachev inside the Peoria zone three minutes into Wednesday night’s contest, the IceHogs still managed to strike while short-handed. 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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Running commentary of Rockford’s 5-3 win at Peoria

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs wrapped up their preseason with a nice offensive game, besting the Peoria Rivermen 5-3. I took it upon myself to purchase the AHL Live stream of the contest and share some observations along with my thoughts on the eve of what will hopefully be a successful season for the Hogs.

This is just me commenting as a fan, much as I will whenever I offer up thoughts from my seat at the BMO Center. Like you guys, I know what I do about the behind the scenes dealings mainly from what Chris Block reports. I’m not going to provide his sparkling brand of analysis-mostly because I’m watching from the opposite side of the rink. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, Rockford Preview with Mike Peck, Voice of the IceHogs

By Chris Block

This week we’re joined by Mike Peck, play-by-play voice of the Rockford IceHogs, to preview the 2012-13 IceHogs’ team.

On this show we discuss the progressions made in the games of prospects Carter Hutton, Brandon Bollig, Dylan Olsen, Ryan Stanton, Joe Lavin and others. We take a look at who will emerge as the IceHogs team leaders and captains for this season, the changes in Jeremy Morin‘s game, the impact Rob Flick can have in the Rockford lineup, Pete Leblanc‘s journey to an NHL contract, Rostislav Olesz‘s status as well as the potential IceHogs roster should the NHL Lockout proceed as expected.

Mike also gives us the scouting report on Rockford signing Martin St. Pierre.

We discuss the ramifications of today’s Michal Rozsival signing by the Blackhawks and how that move will impact Rockford’s roster. [see Depth Chart]

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PuckChatter~Radio will return next week with the first show of the dreaded NHL Lockout period.

**Next week seems like the perfect time to do some Blackhawks prospects / Rockford IceHogs Q&A from you, the listener.  So if you have any questions in general about this season’s IceHogs, or follow ups to anything Mike and I discussed on this show, post those questions in the comment section below, or its probably better to email those to me directly at PuckChatter@Gmail.com.

And again, if you missed last week’s interview with former Blackhawk Steve Ludzik, check it out!  Ludzy is a tremendous interview and was very generous with his time with us.  As always, he told some great stories and dropped some interesting nuggets down for us.

**I should point out a correction from the show.  I misspoke.  Michal Rozsival’s deal is a 1-year, $2M agreement.


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News/notes: Mac Carruth turning pro, upcoming shows

By Chris Block

A few news items tonight but first a couple plugs…

–Our PuckChatter~Radio podcast returns this Tuesday night, May 29th at 8pm central.  We’ll focus on our listener emails on the Blackhawks, IceHogs and prospects.  You can listen live that night at this link.  If you have a question or commentary you would like to contribute, send those to PuckChatter@gmail.com by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.

If you haven’t listened to our interview with Stephen Nelson from this past Tuesday night, I’d urge you to do so.  If you’re interested in the Blackhawks top prospects in Rockford especially this was a great show.  We’ve got a ton of feedback on the interview already, in particular Nelson’s candid account of Ben Smith’s relationship with Jimmy Newcomer, the 19-year old cancer-stricken Rockford area boy who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.  We’ll have more on Ben Smith this coming Tuesday night.

–I’ll be a guest on Hockeenight.com’s PuckCast on Sunday night, June 10th to preview the 2012 NHL Draft taking place June 22-23 in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.  That’s shaping up to what could be a pretty active weekend for the Blackhawks.

Carruth going pro

Several outlets are now reporting the Chicago Blackhawks have signed goaltender Mac Carruth to a three-year entry level contract.  Carruth was selected 191st overall by the Blackhawks in the seventh round of the 2010 Entry Draft.

RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie was first to report Carruth signed to a three-year deal with an NHL cap hit (under the current collective bargaining agreement) of $525,000 per season.  Lavoie has been first to report many prospects signing entry levels in the past.  The contract would be a two-way deal, so he’d make far less, in the neighborhood of $67,000 per while in the AHL or ECHL.  The Blackhawks needed to sign Carruth or he would have been eligible to for Draft re-entry. He can still return to junior hockey for one more season, be it with Portland or should a trade be worked out with another club.

While this deal has not been officially confirmed nor announced by the Blackhawks it should be shortly.  CapGeek.com has different, unconfirmed numbers on Carruth’s deal at this point.  Announcement or not, all signs point to Carruth leaving the Portland Winterhawks major junior organization in the WHL for pro hockey in the Blackhawks’ system. Read more »

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