Tag Archives: Ryan Potulny

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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PK, Toivonen bigger than Texas, IceHogs 3 – Stars 1

The Rockford IceHogs continue to do the cha-cha with the .500 mark in their pursuit of an AHL postseason berth.

Rockford finds themselves a game above the .500 mark for the 4th time in the last 16 days after a 3-1 victory over the visiting Texas Stars on Friday night.

Goals from Kyle Beach, Jeremy Morin and a late empty-netter by Ryan Potulny were enough to lead the IceHogs to victory against the Dallas Stars minor league affiliate.

38 games into the season (AHL season runs 80 games), Rockford is 17-16-1-4 and entrenched in last place (8th) in the AHL’s West Division.

Not all is lost, however.  The IceHogs own games in hand on every team in their division and being that the West division will likely send five teams to the playoffs, Rockford need only climb over three teams to reach that coveted fifth spot.

Friday’s game against the Stars was absolutely essential for the IceHogs.  Texas came into the game as the fourth-place team in the West and held an 11-point advantage on Rockford in the standings.  But with only two games in hand on Texas, Rockford could basically cross Texas off the list of teams they could realistically leap-frog had they not won Friday’s contest in regulation. Read more »

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Hawks Cut Morin, Details; Opener Roster Appears Set

On Monday, the Blackhawks assigned Jeremy Morin to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.  The decision ends an apparent late pre-season competition between Morin and 24-year old Vitkor Stalberg for a spot on left wing.

In the off season, Morin, 19, was acquired from Atlanta in the deal that sent Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel to the Thrashers.  Viktor Stalberg was the key return in the trade in which the Hawks sent Kris Versteeg to Toronto.

In the final exhibition game Sunday versus the Blues, Stalberg skated just under 9 minutes for coach Joel Quenneville, while Morin played 13:18 including several shifts on the power play.  Both were credited with two hits.  Morin registered two shots to Stalberg’s one.  Each picked up an assist while Morin finished a minus-1 and Stalberg a plus-1.  Morin’s effort leading to Marian Hossa’s deflection-goal during a second-period power play was a highlight of the game.  Afterwards, Quenneville called Morin’s night “okay.”

The move of Morin to the AHL trims the Blackhawks roster down to the maximum of 23 with the injury to Brian Campbell and demotion of goaltender Hannu Toivonen having previously gone down over the weekend.

Here’s how the opening night roster stacks up: (lines speculative)

Troy Brouwer – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Tomas Kopecky – Patrick Sharp – Patrick Kane
Viktor Stalberg – Dave Bolland – Fernando Pisani
Bryan Bickell – Ryan Potulny – Jack Skille
Jake Dowell

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Nick Leddy
Jordan Hendry – Nick Boynton
John Scott (W/D) – Jassen Cullimore

Marty Turco
Corey Crawford

Injured: Brian Campbell (sprained right knee; out 4-5 weeks)

Jack Skille (arm) is at this point still considered questionable for Thursday’s opener in Colorado.  Skille has said he thinks he’ll be ready.

Cullimore is still around in case the Hawks get cold feet with the Nick Leddy experiment or it simply doesn’t work out.  Cullimore had a better camp than most everyone is willing to give him credit for and while it may seem unfathomable to some, Cullimore is still a better option for Quenneville than rookies like Ivan Vishnevskiy or Brian Connelly.

If Skille can’t go Thursday, its very possible John Scott will dress as the 12th forward and Cullimore as the 6th-D against the Avalanche.  Remember, Nick Boynton will be serving a one-game suspension Thursday night for his throat-slashing gesture in the first exhibition game on September 22 in Winnipeg against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With Jake Dowell dressing the final two preseason games and Ryan Potulny watching those contests from the stands, it would stand to reason Dowell is getting the call to center the fourth line in Game 1 of 82.  Or, both Dowell and Potulny dress  (if Skille is out) in game one and Scott stands in as the 6th defenseman.

While Jordan Hendry didn’t do much this exhibition season to gain many’s confidence in his ability to anchor the third defensive pairing, the 5-6 duo needs the additional mobility neither Boynton or Scott can provide.  Thus, Hendry could have a longer rope.

In regards to the Morin demotion….

I think you’d be troubled to find a single person who felt Viktor Stalberg out-performed Jeremy Morin during the exhibition contests.  If this were a legitimate one vs one competition, Stalberg would be the player headed to the AHL.  But this obviously wasn’t.

There’s also not much to the notion Morin was a casualty of salary cap considerations.  While Morin’s 2010-11 potential performance bonuses total $170,000 more than Stalberg’s, those would be covered under the entry-level bonus cushion.  Also, Morin’s base salary and preliminary cap hit is $70,000 less than Stalberg’s.  So Morin’s preliminary hit is more favorable than Stalberg’s.  And if Morin were to stick all year at the NHL level and meet all his marks for those bonuses, I’m sure the Blackhawks wouldn’t mind.

More likely, if the cap figured into Morin’s case at all, is apparent inclusion of Nick Leddy on the opening night roster.  Leddy’s base salary according to numbers listed on CapGeek.com is $900,000.  Leddy also does not have attainable performance bonuses this season.  With Leddy in the mix on the Hawks’ blue line, the Hawks only have space for minimum sized contracts for the time being.  If Brian Campbell had not been injured Friday in the game with Pittsburgh, Leddy probably would not have made the team and Morin may have been rewarded with an early trial with the Hawks.

With Leddy in the picture, Morin had to beat out Stalberg since the contracts of Bickell, Skille, Potulny, Dowell, and even John Scott are all closer to the league minimum.  And ultimately, Morin doesn’t have to clear waivers while most of those players do, and that’s why Morin was never really in competition for a spot with anyone but Stalberg.  However, once Viktor Stalberg hits the 20 games played mark this season, he becomes waiver-eligible.  So you can see the pressure is on Stalberg to get going early or he could be headed to Rockford sooner than later after all.  Morin won’t become waiver-eligible until the 2014-15 season, or when he hits 160 NHL games played.

Stan Bowman, may also be looking to delay the passing of Jassen Cullimore through waivers until a few days after the season begins and teams set their initial rosters in case there would happen to be interest in him.  And there very well could be if you consider losing another veteran blue liner (Cullimore) would hurt the Hawks to a degree.  He hasn’t had a bad camp either.  While I’m pretty positive he’s not someone Bowman wants to see in any regularity in a Hawks uniform, Cullimore, who turns 38 in December, is still a veteran who could give the Hawks some minutes in a pinch and also has value skating with the young kids in Rockford.

While I don’t find the Morin cut as any great injustice, it is slightly disconcerting to see Bowman’s slight of Morin.  That said, Stalberg can erase those thoughts in a hurry if he gets off to a quick start this week.  And by all accounts, Morin is a determined, intelligent kid and this probably won’t set him back any.  He could also use the experience of a season in the AHL to learn the intricacies of the pro game and continued improvement on his skating.  He was only in the running for a spot this year to begin with because the Hawks’ depth up front so poor.

Stalberg posted 9 goals and 14 points in 40 games with the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs last season.  In Chicago, he’s greeted, yes, with more-accomplished teammates, but also with greater expectations.  The early returns simply won’t do.  Stalberg will find himself on the outs soon enough if he can’t find the net and help provide some offense on one of the top three lines.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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