Anyone whose read or followed my work over the years would know that I haven’t exactly been a huge fan of Bryan Bickell’s. However, this playoff’s John Druce deserves kudos for being, perhaps, the single-most overriding factor in the Blackhawks being now one game away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in four seasons.
That’s not to suggest Bickell’s current successes should force Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman (provided this kind of thing is ultimately even his decision) into doing anything drastic (not his style anyhow) in attempts to keep Bickell this summer.
Before this postseason, Bickell’s greatest asset to the Blackhawks was his salary cap number, which for three seasons has hovered right at the NHL minimum salary requirement.
While it is stunning to look at the NHL leaderboard today and see Bickell’s eight playoff tallies ranking the 6-4, 235 pound Bowmanville, Ontario native second overall in playoff goals scored (tied with Patrick Sharp). Boston Bruins center David Krejci’s nine goals leads all postseason performers. Read more »
I don’t have any shows of my own planned at the moment, but I can announce that I will be joining the HockeeNight PuckCast this Sunday night, April 21st. We’ll be discussing the Blackhawks as they get primed for postseason; either a Rockford IceHogs post-mortem or playoff preview and if maybe even more 1960’s and 70’s northeast professional wrestling as we did last time I did the PuckCast.
–Nashville Predators’ winger Kevin Henderson will be making his NHL debut tonight against the Blackhawks at the UC. Back in 2007, Henderson was an invitee to the Blackhawks summer prospect camp. At that camp, Henderson skated on Jonathan Toews’ line. The summer ’07 camp was the one just prior to Toews and Patrick Kane’s rookie seasons.
DYLAN OLSEN UPDATE
The Blackhawks 2009 first round pick suffered a foot injury on April 7th in a game against the Peoria Rivermen in Rockford. Olsen blocked a shot off his left foot during the second period of that game and has not played since.
Olsen was back skating with the IceHogs this week and could possibly play in the regular season finale tomorrow night in Cedar Park, Texas. Olsen has been ruled out of tonight’s game in San Antonio, however.
Tonight, Rockford will go with the following defense pairs: Ryan Stanton-Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck-Steve Montador, Joe Lavin-Shawn Lalonde.
ROCKFORD ICEHOGS – It all comes down to this…
The Rockford IceHogs (40-31-2-1, .561, 83 points) wrap up their regular season this weekend with two games in the Lone Star State.
Tonight, Rockford will visit the San Antonio Rampage (29-36-2-7, .453). The Rampage (14th in the west) are the AHL affiliate to the Florida Panthers. Read more »
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 »
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not
grow weary, they will “skate” and not be faint. – RL abridged version
By Rich Lindbloom
There’s a legend that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching. In fact, while all other avian creatures seek the cover of the tempest tossed tree, the eagle will spread its wings and fly directly into the storm, using the updraft to rise above the approaching danger. Soaring heights and dizzying speeds are achieved that are not attainable under normal conditions. It takes great daring to jump into the maelstrom. Perhaps they achieve this feat by looking up instead of down. Keep your heads up Blackhawks, at the altitude you’re at right now, looking down might cause substantial dizziness. The Hawks are definitely breathing rarefied air at the moment. (At least when they’re not in the locker room.) Read more »
Each week from now until the end of the season we will bring you a first-hand account of the latest news, developments and analysis of this season’s Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Conflict of Interests?
“Well, we’re 1-3. So, that’s my assessment.”
That was IceHogs coach Ted Dent this past Saturday night after a 4-2 loss at home when asked to give his assessment of Jimmy Hayes’ performance in the four games after the decision was made to move Hayes from his regular spot at right wing, over to the center ice position.
Eight games into the season, the edict came down from Chicago Blackhawks management that they wanted to see how Hayes would do at center.
Little forward thinking went into this decision either, apparently. Blackhawks Director of Player Development Barry Smith was quickly dispatched to Rockford to go over film and one-on-one instruction over three days with Hayes, who admittedly hadn’t played the center position since he was a kid.
Not during training camp. Not over the summer when Hayes was a part of a group of 12 top Blackhawks prospects who traveled to Sweden for a five-day August mini-camp. No, during the last week of October was when the IceHogs coach received word he was to play Hayes at center until further notice.
“No, I haven’t played there in a long time,” Jimmy Hayes said last week. Read more »
Once night removed from a 6-1 clobbering at the hands of the Chicago Wolves in their first preseason game, the Rockford IceHogs returned home to clip the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 in a shootout victory.
In the end, the three deciding IceHogs’ goals all came off sticks of players who played or finished last season with the Blackhawks.
Carter Hutton started the game for Rockford and gave up a deflating goal against to Milwaukee’s Jani Lajunen at 7:30 of the period. The goal defined the first period for the IceHogs. Lajunen picked up a puck along the goal line to Hutton’s left and tossed a weak backhand attempt toward the Rockford goaltender. Hutton was a couple feet off the post and was caught off guard by the shot, which hit him in the left pad and trickled over the goal line to give the Admirals the early lead.
The period as a whole was largely forgettable for the IceHogs. With 11 players seeing their first game action of the preseason, nearly everyone seemed sluggish and the team was out of synch.
With four and a half minutes left in the first period, Daniel Bang (apparently pronounced “Bong” So, Dan Bong-banged in the rebound. Okay, I’m done.) scored a power play tally for Milwaukee when he picked up a rebound and beat Hutton to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead. A hooking penalty to Brandon Pirri had sent Milwaukee to the power play. Marcus Kruger and Jimmy Hayes were sent out kill the first portion of Pirri’s penalty. But the trouble began when Kruger was kicked out of the circle on the defensive zone draw. Hayes then came in and lost the draw, pinning Rockford against it in their own zone. Read more »
Among the topics hit on this week’s program…..
-McDonough & Co. show insecurity over losing bids on Parise & Suter
-Why did they want Parise and Suter?
-The pursuit of Martin Brodeur
-Blackhawks bid to become the Miami Heat of the NHL
-What is the plan, Stan?
-How can the Hawks still improve the roster before camp?
-Odds they still can
-Potential trading partners and realistic targets
-What about the goaltending?
-The Penalty Kill
-Could RFA’s Sam Gagner, Evander Kane be on the move?
-Which Western Conference star would be a perfect 2nd line center
-The Blackhawks and Russians
-Martin St. Pierre signs with Rockford
-A review of the Blackhawks selections at the NHL Entry Draft
-Prospect camp next week
-The heat. The heat! And polyester.
-Meeting a man with a very unfortunate name
-Can I play with your poodle?
-And much, much more
- Which position and who the Blackhawks may be looking to draft at #18
- A look back at the 2012 Draft and how well the Hawks did
- Joel Quenneville’s coaching future
- Prospects of trading some core, and non-core veterans
- Justifying the Johnny Oduya re-signing
- Phillip Danault
- Mark McNeill
- Please Stan, no more Bryan Bickell
- Looking ahead at familiar names coming out in ’13 & ’14 Drafts
- Ridiculous Blackhawks free agency speculation
- Trading Patrick Kane
- Barry Smith
- Adam Clendening and Shawn Lalonde
- Moving the Coyotes from Glendale back to Phoenix
- NHL expansion
- All this an much, much more in this 2-hour PuckCast extravaganza
The Thursday June 7th edition of PuckChatter~Radio
Chris Block answers (in come cases; or tries to) listener questions on topics ranging from Joel Quenneville’s dysfunctional coaching staff, the Bowmans, Adam Clendening, Derek Boogaard, the NHL Finals, update on Block’s door woman, first date horror story, the Chicago Blues Festival, express lanes, the upcoming draft and to his ascension to the role of relationship and romance adviser.
Click the player below to listen here in your browser….