Nov 192017
 

By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs capped a weekend home set on Sunday night with a second-consecutive shootout victory, this time over the Chicago Wolves.

The season’s first meeting between Interstate 90 rivals delivered the back-and-forth action and volatility their games typically inspire.

Chicago’s season has been off to an inauspicious beginning (4-9-1-0) despite a roster full of talent that would suggest better results. The Wolves are now the affiliate of the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights, while also carrying a handful of the St. Louis Blues top prospects.  Next season, the Blues will be with AHL San Antonio exclusively. But for now, frequent roster juggling, particularly on the Vegas’ end, has made it difficult for the Wolves’ squad to build much chemistry.

On Sunday, Rockford saw a late 2-goal lead slip away as the Wolves fought back to a tie on tally’s by defenseman Jake Walman and captain Paul Thompson – the latter a short-handed goal off a Laurent Dauphin giveaway.

Vince Hinostroza was once again the hero for the home team.  Hinostroza dangled his way to a highlight reel goal midway through the first and had one of two of the IceHogs goals in the shootout.

Jeff Glass, on his 32nd birthday, was between the pipes for Rockford and stopped 34 shots and another 2 Wolves’ shooters in the skills competition en route to his 5th consecutive win.  Glass got both starts on the weekend with J-F Berube having lost his last 5 starts after beginning the season 5-0. Continue reading »

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Nov 102017
 

By Chris Block

Rockford’s losing streak extended to three games on Thursday when the IceHogs dropped a 5-3 decision at Iowa.

Collin Delia got his first AHL start for the IceHogs and allowed 4 goals against 16 shots. It was not a pretty afternoon for the Rancho Cucamonga native, who allowed a couple goals he’d certainly like to have another chance at.

Rockford trailed in the game 2-0 in the first period and 4-2 early in the third. Vince Hinostroza roofed a perfectly placed wrister by Iowa starter Steven Michalek with 7:20 to play in regulation. But, Rockford couldn’t convert on two late power play opportunities and a Pat Cannone potted an empty-net tally with 1:06 to go to seal the Wild victory.

Rockford’s weekend continues tonight, hosting the 7-3-1-0 San Antonio Rampage at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Then, Saturday the IceHogs bus back up to Milwaukee for their 5th meeting with the Admirals this season. Rockford was lost 3 of the 4 versus Milwaukee thus far.

Laurent Dauphin injured in Iowa

Center Laurent Dauphin was injured with 9:47 to go in the 3rd period of Wednesday’s 5-3 loss at Iowa.

Dauphin suffered an “upper body” injury and is considered day-to-day for the time being. Continue reading »

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Nov 082017
 


By Chris Block

A healthy influx of fresh prospects and NHL experienced forwards have helped drive the Rockford IceHogs to their best start since the 2014-15 campaign.

Rockford rolled off 6 wins in its initial 7 contests, with the only loss coming to rival Milwaukee.

Since, the IceHogs have faltered a bit, losing 3 of their last four and mustering just 9 goals in those four outings. Three of Rockford’s defeats overall have come against Milwaukee, with the other a 3-2 Halloween loss at Cleveland, a night the IceHogs power play let them down (0 for 7).

In all, it’s just the 4th time in 11 seasons that Rockford has posted 7 wins in its initial 10 games.  Only once in those three other seasons did the IceHogs go on to fail to qualify for the postseason. That year, 2013, Rockford followed up a 7-2-1-0 start by losing 8 of its next 10.  They eventually missed the playoffs by 4 points. The 2008-09 and 2014-15 teams did go on to the playoffs.

This year’s group has been steered by a combination of speed, solid blue line and goaltending play.

Rockford’s high-pace attack has caused opponents all some fits in the early going, but it’s come with some growing pains as some opponents have been able to take advantage of Rockford’s over-aggressive forecheck at times in transition.

IceHogs first-year coach Jeremy Colliton admits it’s still a work in progress. Continue reading »

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Mar 202016
 

Hinostroza_IceHogs_2016Mar15_GregHamil_Photo_500x333Vince Hinostroza in action, March 15, 2016 vs Charlotte
Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs, by Greg Hamil

“The last month, he’s probably been our best player.”

-Ted Dent, speaking about 1st year pro Vince Hinostroza, after a tough 4-1 loss Friday night to the Chicago Wolves in Rosemont.

It is a compliment Dent has reserved for a select few players this season – Mark McNeill and Tanner Kero have also been bestowed that praise.

This is a season in which the Rockford IceHogs spent most of the initial two-thirds of the season atop the AHL Central Division. Lately, the Blackhawks top minor league affiliate has slumped and fallen back to third place, four points behind now division leading Grand Rapids, who have won 13 consecutive games coming into Sunday’s action.

While the IceHogs as a group may have recently lost some steam, Hinostroza is playing his best hockey yet. Continue reading »

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Aug 172015
 

By Chris Block

With just about a month to go before the Blackhawks open NHL training camp in Chicago, players will be accelerating their off season workout regimens in preparation for the season.

Some players who will partake in the rookie tournament in early September will need to be in peak condition sooner.

With that in mind, the Blackhawks, in cooperation with the Djurgarden hockey club in Stockholm, are conducting a conditioning mini-camp this week in Sweden.

It’s an annual summer tradition now for the club, organized by Barry Smith, the Blackhawks Director of Player Development.

Players expected to take part in this week’s mini-camp include: Continue reading »

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Apr 152015
 

IceHogs_LockerRoom_2014_100214

By Chris Block

The IceHogs return home on Wednesday night from last week’s 2-1 road trip when they host the Charlotte Checkers at the BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford.

Rockford closes out its regular season this week with three home games. They’ll welcome the Chicago Wolves on Friday, and the Toronto Marlies on Saturday night to wrap the season with 3 games in 4 nights.

Ted Dent’s team has solidified a playoff spot and now eyes a chance to win the Midwest division, currently led by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. The IceHogs failed to qualify for postseason the past four years. They haven’t won a playoff game since Game 5 of the Conference semi-final series with the Chicago Wolves in 2008. Rockford is 0-10 in AHL playoff contests since that Game 5 in 2008. The AHL record for consecutive playoff losses is 12, set by the Buffalo Bisons in the 1950s.

Grand Rapids is one point up on Rockford. They close out the season with a 3-in-3 starting Thurday; three winnable games at Lake Erie and then home for a back-to-back set against Charlotte. Grand Rapids also currently holds the first tie-breaker, regulation wins, 42 to the IceHogs’ 41. So, Rockford will need help from Lake Erie and/or Charlotte in addition to picking up a minimum of 5 of 6 points if they’re to have a shot at jumping Grand Rapids and winning the division. Continue reading »

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Jan 262015
 

Teravainen_2014Nov21_IceHogs“Turbo” Teuvo Teravainen, photo: Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

2015 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS PROSPECT RANKINGS

Qualifications for this list include being under the age of 26 on the final day of the 2014-15 regular season. This excluded Scott Darling, Brandon Mashinter (each 26 now) and T. J. Brennan from consideration for these rankings.

The other qualifier is the player must have no more than 25 NHL games played in the current season or no more than a total of 40 NHL career games played at the time of these rankings.

These rankings and short bios were first published on January 16th and are as of January 15, 2015. As you’ll read, the extended bios took a little longer to write and at that point I decided to do a writeup on every Blackhawks prospect who would qualify for this list, even those who fell below the top 25. To me, there was no added value in ranking the players 1-40, so I decided against that.

The rankings are formed by a weighted formula that leans heavily to skill, career potential and probability of impact at the NHL level.  To clear any confusion, how close a player is to playing in the NHL, or being there at times now, does not factor in. Continue reading »

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