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.
Click the player below to listen to this show now…..
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.
On Friday, the Rockford IceHogs officially released defenseman Brett Lebda from his second professional try-out contract with the club.
Lebda had been a healthy scratch in 5 of Rockford’s last 8 contests. The Buffalo Grove native and member of the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings had appeared in 27 games for the IceHogs, posting 11 assists to go with a minus-12 plus/minus rating, worst on the team.
The IceHogs would have had to sign Lebda to a standard-player contract by February 17th or release him.
Lebda has never before played overseas but back in October he told us he had interest from a few teams in Europe and he would reconsider those if nothing presented itself after the NHL lockout ended.
MCARDLE SIGNS CONTRACT
Just three games into his PTO, Kenndal McArdle agreed to a contract with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of this season on Wednesday.
The Florida Panthers’ 2005 first round (#20th overall) draft pick has one assist in the three games since joining the IceHogs. He was also involved in the brawl with Grand Rapids last Saturday, getting ejected for a Third Man In violation.
McArdle played 9 games in the NHL last season with Winnipeg. So far he’s taking the spot on Martin St. Pierre’s left wing that was vacated by Brandon Saad. Read more »
There is still a lot more to come from Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins before a sellout crowd of 6,219 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. [Video of the brawl is posted again at the bottom of this post]
230 penalty minutes in all were dealt out in Saturday’s game. 202 of those came as result of the brawl.
Frustrations from an IceHogs perspective had boiled over at the 11:58 mark of the second period after Grand Rapids forward Landon Ferraro scored a power play goal to put the visiting team ahead 6-3.
The IceHogs had been assessed five-straight minor penalties by the officials in the first eleven minutes of the second period alone and the Griffins had capitalized on two of those opportunities with the man-advantage. To that point in the contest, Grand Rapids was 3 for 6 on the power play. Rockford had just one power play chance to that point and it resulted in a Dylan Olsen goal, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period.
No one on the Rockford side after the game was entirely blaming the refs for the lopsided power plays going in Grand Rapids favor. The IceHogs players and coach admitted most of the calls against them were warranted. Although, it was the hooking call referee Joe Sullivan gave Terry Broadhurst that gave Grand Rapids the power play that Landon Ferraro would use to put his team up 6-3 that had the IceHogs livid with the officiating. Read more »
Video of the long brawl that took place at the 11:58 mark of the second period between the Rockford IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins.
This video doesn’t capture the entire sequence of events. A little after this footage ends, as the officials were about to begin the process of sorting out the penalties and game misconducts, Adam Clendening and Tomas Tatar somehow ended up together on the far side of the ice across from the IceHogs bench and those two squared off and fought.
Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Rockford IceHogs.
While the team had been able to avoid everything but a few nagging injuries here and there, the IceHogs lost another key player this weekend. For how long though, we’re not yet certain.
Jeremy Morin missed Sunday’s loss at Grand Rapids with an undisclosed injury. Not sure of the extent of the damage other than the IceHogs saying Morin was “dinged up.” Morin got the worse end of a third period scrap with Chicago Wolves’ defenseman and higher end Vancouver Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton on Saturday night. Though Morin did make a return for the game’s final moments he was unavailable for Sunday’s road contest with the Griffins. Here is a link to video of the Morin-Connauton fight from Dec 8, Morin’s first fight of the season.
Morin has been held without a point in the last three IceHogs games he’s suited up for. Over his last 15 games, Morin has 7 goals and 2 assists to go along with a minus-2 rating. He’s second on the IceHogs with 9 goals total on the season, one behind team-leader Ben Smith.
–Defenseman Joe Lavin broke his right wrist in a game at Lake Erie on Nov 24th. The injury should sideline Lavin for 5-6 weeks, putting Lavin on schedule to return sometime after Christmas. Lavin was still wearing a cast this weekend. Read more »
PuckChatter~Radio returned Tuesday night with special guest Stephen Nelson, formerly the Rockford IceHogs radio; pre, intermission and postgame host.
Stephen joined us to share his experiences working for, and with the Rockford IceHogs this past season. He talked about his favorite players to work with and the new player profile feature he helped craft this season.
He also talked about the team’s early struggles experienced this past season and why Stephen always remained confident the IceHogs would turn things around.
Nelson gave us some behind the scenes insight on some of the top IceHogs and Blackhawks prospects including the special bond Ben Smith developed with the late Jimmy Newcomer, the 19-year old Rockford area kid who was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer who Smith visited in the hospital late one night and remained in contact with up until Newcomer passed away a few weeks ago.
We were fortunate enough on Saturday to sit down with Rockford IceHogs’ head coach Ted Dent for a lengthy season-in-review discussion.
In this twenty-five minute interview, Dent shared his take on the gamut of subjects from coaching, to working in unison with Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks coaching staff to the ups and down season his IceHogs experienced in this 2011-12 season.
Dent also gives his take on the state of Kyle Beach‘s progression, where he thinks Beach could be had it not been for missing four months due to shoulder surgery and if Dent has been surprised at all by the rapid ascension of Andrew Shaw.
Without the services of Ben Smith and leading scorer Brandon Pirri, the Rockford IceHogs extended their recent dominance of the Milwaukee Admirals behind goaltender Carter Hutton’s 22-save performance.
Rockford defeated the Admirals 4-1 on Saturday night on goals from unlikely sources in Chris DiDomenico, Brandon Svendsen and Philippe Paradis. All three ended long personal goal scoring droughts. Pete Leblanc, another player whose had hard luck recently finding the back of the net, added an empty-netter with 45 seconds to go sending the Milwaukee crowd of 15,888 home unhappy.
Brandon Pirri missed the game with a lower-body injury. Pirri will miss Sunday’s home game versus the Admirals and likely Tuesday’s contest in Oklahoma City against the conference-leading Barons as well. Officially, Pirri is listed as day-to-day.
Ben Smith will undergo surgery next week to repair a labral tear in his right hip and hernia. He will miss the remainder of the season but is expected to make a full recovery in sixteen weeks.
For one night anyhow, the IceHogs didn’t seem to miss Pirri and Smith as others stepped up in their absence. Read more »
A juicy rebound goal by Rostislav Olesz and a Shawn Lalonde shot that went off Jimmy Hayes’ pant leg and in was all the IceHogs could muster against Matt Climie on Saturday night before the second-biggest crowd of the season in Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center.
That wouldn’t be enough as the Wolves scored goals in bunches to defeat Rockford by a final score of 6-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,164.
Carter Hutton was mercifully pulled from his net by IceHogs coach Ted Dent after the Wolves scored three goals in 2:34 midway through the second period. Hutton was able to stop 15 of the 20 shots he saw in 28:23 of action but he didn’t have much chance on a few of those goals.
“I apologized to Hutts because our team wasn’t there in front of him,” Dent noted of speaking to Hutton and explaining the switch between the second and third periods.
Alexander Salak came in to relieve Hutton, one night after his victorious 2-1, 27-save return to action after being sidelined ten weeks with an ankle injury. Salak stopped all 15 shots he faced over 31 minutes in relief of Hutton on Saturday. Salak was pulled for an extra attacker with three and a half minutes to go when Chicago notched its sixth and final goal of the evening into the vacated Rockford net. Read more »