Tag Archives: Rockford

Early season story on Antti Raanta, his Opening Night injury scare, how he became a Blackhawk, what won him over, his style and much more

For those who buy or read The Committed Indian program on, or at Blackhawks home games, I have a 2-page feature running in Wednesday’s issue that hopefully you’ll find interesting.  The following is a story I did on Antti Raanta that ran in The Committed Indian back in November.  I’ve had requests to post it here, but kept forgetting to do so.  So here it is, as it ran on 11/6/13.  Raanta was recalled to the Blackhawks eleven days later, after Nikolai Khabibulin went down with a groin injury.  Stan Bowman announced today that Khabibulin underwent shoulder surgery that Bowman said would keep the veteran netminder out of action another 4-5 months.  Khabibulin will turn 41 this coming Monday.  While Bowman claimed Khabibulin “could” return this season, that timetable would put Khabibulin out until around the time of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Thus, Raanta, for the foreseeable future, is Corey Crawford’s backup and second on the Blackhawks goaltending depth chart.

 Raanta_Antti-GHAntti Raanta in action for Rockford, 10/19/13 vs Grand Rapids
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

By Chris Block

A long way from his home in Finland, Antti Raanta led the Rockford IceHogs onto the ice at AT&T Center in San Antonio last month.  Outside, it was just another steamy October Saturday in south Texas.  Inside, the IceHogs were opening the 2013-14 season.  And for Raanta, it was the beginning of the next stage in his pursuit of realizing his dream of becoming an NHL goaltender. Read more »

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Video look-in at a recent IceHogs-Charlotte Checkers game through referee David Banfield’s helmet cam

A video look at the December 7, 2013 Rockford IceHogs – Charlotte Checkers contest through referee David Banfield’s helmet cam.

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One-on-one interview with Joakim Nordstrom

Nordstrom_Joakim_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov09vsIowaJoakim Nordstrom battles for position with Iowa’s Tyler Graovac Nov 9th
photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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By Chris Block

Joakim Nordstrom returned the Rockford IceHogs lineup on Saturday in Charlotte after being reassigned by the Blackhawks the previous day.

Nordstrom, 21, posted a goal and an assist in the IceHogs 5-3 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday night.  He was also a stunning plus-4 in the game.  Overall this season with the IceHogs, Nordstrom has skated in 16 contests, notching 6 goals and 2 assists to go with a plus-4 (plus/minus) rating.  Modest offensive numbers, though the Swede is scoring at a 20.0% shooting percentage (6/29). Read more »

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Beach searching for consistency, One more chance

BeachKyle_Photo_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013Nov30_2Teammates celebrate Kyle Beach’s 1st of 3 goals Nov 30th
Photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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“It’s day to day.  This is Kyle’s fifth year here – or parts of five seasons.  It’s just him being a true professional in the way he conducts himself on and off the ice.  And when he crosses the line, then he’s not going to play, and he knows that.  And that’s why he hasn’t played the last (four games).” – IceHogs head coach Ted Dent

By Chris Block

No one in the Blackhawks organization knows Kyle Beach better than Ted Dent.  The current Rockford bench boss was an assistant when Beach first dipped his toes into the professional ranks at the end of his junior seasons in 2009 and 2010.  Dent was there when Beach and Akim Aliu’s off-ice antics got the duo banished from the IceHogs during a playoff series after an incident in a Milwaukee hotel in 2009.  Dent was an assistant working directly with the forwards in Beach’s first full pro season in 2010-11, and became Rockford’s head coach in the summer of 2011.

So when the word came in late October that Beach’s hockey excursion to Sweden had come to an end, and the Blackhawks 2008 1st round pick would be returning to the IceHogs roster, I asked Dent what he was expecting from Beach once he did return to the team. Read more »

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Exclusive interview with Kyle Beach, plus Ted Dent talks Beach’s absence from the IceHogs lineup

BeachKyle_IceHogs_GregHamil_2013_Nov30Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil

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By Chris Block

After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.

Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.

Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick. Read more »

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PuckChatter~Radio, e.137; The Hjalmarsson Dance

By Chris Block

PuckChatter~Radio pulled off 2 shows in 6 days with another brand new episode on Tuesday night. dissecting the Kris Versteeg trade and the reasons why Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen were the players to go the other way.

We covered the official announcement of the retirement of former Blackhawk defenseman Adrian Aucoin, and the details of how he was since hired to the Blackhawks player development staff.  Aucoin’s retirement, new job as well as the accurate depiction of his Hawks career was covered on this site exactly one month ago.

Then, we give an in-person account of the exclusive Chicago Blackhawks/Banner Collective/Blackhawks TV – launch party for the One Goal II book and 17 Seconds film commemorating the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions that was held at The Wit hotel in downtown Chicago on Monday night – what it was, exclusive details and impressions of this event, film and book.

Also, we hit a couple listener emails, talked the Horseshoe Casino on a random November Saturday afternoon, Blackhawks-Predators, Block’s niece having poor in-game hockey etiquette, and bacon – Yeah, of course We want bacon!

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West-leading IceHogs can’t close another 2-goal deficit

By Chris Block

Over the initial ten games of this IceHogs’ season, on four occasions Rockford came back from 2-goal deficits to emerge victorious.  In one of those games, their home opener against Grand Rapids on October 19th, Rockford actually trailed by 2 goals twice in the contest only to eventually attain the two points.

There is something to note about the character of a team when 4 of its 7 wins have come in dramatic comeback fashion.  Although, it can also leave behind a trail of just as many questions as it does answers.  And one thing is for sure – at this level, no team is going to maintain a .700 record for very long when the team is consistently falling behind early in games.

In Rockford, on Thursday night, the IceHogs afforded the Charlotte Checkers a 3-0 advantage before staging three unanswered tallies of their own, only to lose to the Checkers, 5-3.

On Friday night, Rockford bused north to Milwaukee for the first of twelve matches this season with the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate.

The IceHogs got goals from rookies Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst in Milwaukee.  But the Admirals jumped out to an early lead and then stretched a two-goal gap on Rockford midway through the game that Rockford this time would not close. Read more »

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IceHogs come from behind to win in Toronto

By Chris Block

Twenty four hours after surrendering a two-goal lead and losing in Hamilton, the Rockford IceHogs performed a comeback of their own, scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the Toronto Marlies, 3-2 before a crowd of 4,184 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Rockford was down 2-0 midway through the game when a Drew Leblanc offensive zone penalty put the IceHogs penalty killers on a crucial kill.  That unit was up to the task and the momentum gained from that stand carried over into back-to-back tallies from Alex and Terry Broadhurst to tie the game before the second period expired.

Jeremy Morin then scored late in the third period to give the IceHogs a lead they would not relinquish. Read more »

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Hamilton score 3 goals in 3:31, rally to beat IceHogs

By Chris Block

Going into Tuesday night’s matchup, the IceHogs had never managed a regulation win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in ten previous meetings.

They still have yet to earn one.

Rockford held a 2-goal lead with 3:05 to play in the third period in Hamilton, Ontario on Tuesday night, only to watch the Bulldogs score the next three goals in a 3:31 stretch, and take a 5-4 overtime win before a sparse Copps Coliseum crowd, announced as 1,990.

The IceHogs got two goals from rookie winger Mark McNeill, as well as Garret Ross’s first professional tally.  But it was the inability to hold a two-goal lead late stained what was otherwise a solid road performance.

Rockford was playing its AHL-leading sixth road contest of season.  The IceHogs came in holding a 3-2 road record.  Read more »

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Adrian Aucoin joins Blackhawks staff, Svendsen retires

AucoinAdrian_CHIAdrian Aucoin

By Chris Block

Adrian Aucoin, at one-time a Chicago Blackhawks team captain, has re-joined the organization in a player-development capacity.  Aucoin has been working with the Blackhawks young defense prospects.

The 20-year pro hockey veteran, who played 36 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the lock-out abbreviated 2012-13 NHL season, has evidently chosen to retire as an active player at the age of 40.

Blackhawks prospect and Rockford IceHogs defenseman Adam Clendening spoke on Friday about working and learning now from another accomplished NHL veteran. Read more »

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