The IceHogs broke out into a much needed offensive explosion in week 19 that propelled them into some favorable results against some extremely tough opponents.
Today is Brandon Bollig‘s birthday. He turns 26 today.
I guess that, since it’s his birthday, I should be nice and not mention that I wish he was back in Rockford, terrorizing the AHL with his limited skills.
I guess I shouldn’t say something like “Whatever you did to Coach Q, Jamal Mayers, please apologize for it so he can put you back in the lineup so we don’t have to suffer through another one of Bollig’s staged fights ever again.”
And I definitely shouldn’t wish Ben Smith a speedy recovery so he can eventually take Bollig’s place in the lineup if Coach Q is determined to keep Mayers in the doghouse for whatever petty, Coach Q-like reasons.
I should just be nice.
So… happy birthday, Bollig. I hope you get to celebrate by watching the game tomorrow from the comfort of Vancouver’s press box. I hear they have good popcorn in there.
(Oh, dammit, that was still mean, wasn’t it? Oh well. I don’t care enough to edit it.)
The Rockford IceHogs trimmed six players from their roster today.
- Terry Broadhurst (reassigned to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye)
- Byron Froese (reassigned to the Toledo Walleye)
- Kent Simpson (reassigned to the Toledo Walleye)
- David Gilbert (reassigned to the CHL (Central Hockey League)’s Bloomington Blaze)
- Mac Carruth (reassigned to the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks)
- Chris DeSousa (released from training camp try-out agreement)
The IceHogs take on the Peoria Rivermen tonight in Peoria at 7:05pm for their last preseason game. Follow Runs On Duncan‘s own Kim Wrona on Twitter at @kimwrona7 for live updates during the game.
On The Farm provides news from the Chicago Blackhawks‘ farm teams: the Rockford IceHogs and Toledo Walleye.
The Rockford IceHogs signed Brett Lebda to a Professional Try Out contract today to round out their training camp roster.
While Lebda, a native of Buffalo Grove, would probably like you to remember him as a former Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings, it’s more likely that you remember his disastrous stint as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. My favorite “Lebda being Lebda” moment was when the Maple Leafs beat the holy hell out of the Atlanta Thrashers 9-3 — but he somehow managed to still be a minus-3 on the night.
He then signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this year — mostly because the Blue Jackets had, like, two healthy defensemen left at that point.
It’s safe to say that Lebda won’t make it anywhere near the Blackhawks even after the lockout, but if he can crack the IceHogs’ roster and provide some veteran leadership, more power to him.
Ahead of the lockout, the Blackhawks have assigned 26 players to their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. The list follows after the jump.
The end of week seven was going to be a challenge for the IceHogs as they traveled down to Charlotte for two games against the division leading Checkers. They needed to at least grab some points in the Tar Heel State before coming back to the BMO Harris Bank Center for week eight on Wednesday to start a season long five game homestand, which could be a turning point in their season.
The IceHogs have boosted their Training Camp roster with the addition of the eleven players sent down from the Blackhawks. The players sent down were forwards Brandon Bollig, Chris DiDomenico, Byron Froese, David Gilbert, Andrew Shaw, David Toews and Paul Zanette; as well as defensemen Simon Danis-Pepin, Shawn Lalonde, Ryan Stanton, and Ben Youds. They will be joining Carter Hutton as the contracted players participating in the camp, which will begin this Sunday, September 25. Bollig, DiDomenico, and Gilbert all skated for the IceHogs last season, with Bollig spending 55 games with the club, DiDomenico with 25, and Gilbert with the last five of the season as he finished his juniors run with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
On the defensive side of things, Lalonde and Stanton both played 73 games with Rockford last season, with Stanton being chosen as the “Most Improved Player” on the IceHogs roster during 2010-2011. Danis-Pepin will be entering his third professional season, splitting the past two between Rockford (61 games) and Toledo (46 games). Danis-Pepin showed a lot of improvement at camp, so I am hoping to see him have his first full season with the IceHogs in 2011-2012. Finally, Shaw, Zanette, Fahey, and Youds are all new additions to the IceHogs roster this season, so camp will be their chance to show us what they’ve got and earn a spot to impress us during the rest of the season. Or so we hope.
NBC Chicago sat down with Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith during this year’s Blackhawks Convention to discuss their, uh, unique friendship. If the NBC Chicago video player is giving you issues (which would not be surprising, since it’s pretty terrible), check it out below.
After the jump, check out what Hossa’s been doing over the summer…
As you have probably heard, the Blackhawks’ Prospect Camp got started today — and I was there tweeting updates the entire time. (Tomorrow and Monday will be covered on Kat’s Twitter; I’ll be back at the helm on Saturday and Sunday.) Camp was different this year, which the Blackhawks addressed in a way that made it clear that the change was necessary. It is also clear that this change will be advantageous for the players, as it will better prepare them to go on to training camp and regular practice — and will give the brass a better idea of who is actually ready. But whatÂ did the change mean to those of us who were watching?
At first, it meant a lot more idle time than usual. The transitions between groups skating and individual drills were pretty smooth, but then we would have large periods of time where nothing was happening while we waited for the next group to take the ice.
That little detail aside, today the change did something that the casual fans may not have appreciated very much: instead of being “exciting” in terms of scrimmage and large group of guys playing together, it was a lot more like watching a practice. That meant that those of us who were looking to see some of the players’ individual skills got to do so.
The exception to this was perhaps with goaltenders, as I have seen a big difference between making stops in a drill (when the shot is pretty clear and more expected) and making stops during a scrimmage (where the pace, number of people, and intensity resembles a ‘real’ playing situation much more closely).
We also got to see how fast the players learned, as the drills were explained to them, sometimes also modeled, and then the players were expected to go our there and get it done. It may have not been the most “entertaining,” but it was wonderfully informative. I feel like I know so much more about these prospects now that I have seen them skate than I did this morning when I showed up with my notes after a week of research. (If you would like to get a primer on the players before you dive in, Cheryl Adams had a great preview post atÂ The Checking Line.)
Overall, there really was no player that I looked at and said, “Wow, you’re not ready.” More than anything else, I was impressed by a lot of the guys I saw at camp last year; the growth was evident and so was their desire. While trying to pick out who stood out from each group, the first thing that came to mind was often, “X really wanted it.” I would say that most of the skills were consistent with what one would be looking for in an AHL player, but there were a couple of players that were solid and really seemed poised to make an impact at the NHL level. Of course, there are still four days of prospect camp to go — and it will be essential to see how they perform in teams and in roles that might be out of their comfort zones.
Let’s take a look at today group by group after the jump.
With the recent signings of Blackhawks prospects Byron Froese and David Gilbert, an introduction to the rest of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) prospects is in order. For those of you who aren’t familiar the Canadian Hockey League, it’s composed of three different leagues across Canada and the US: the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
The Western Hockey League, with which I am most familiar, is made up of 22 teams located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Canada; and Washington and Oregon in the US. The Blackhawks have three current prospects in the WHL: Froese of the Red Deer Rebels, drafted in the 4th round (119th overall) in 2009; Kent Simpson of the Everett Silvertips, drafted in the 3rd round (58th overall) in 2010; and Mac Carruth of the Portland Winterhawks, drafted in the 7th round (191st overall) in 2010.
The Ontario Hockey League is made up of 20 teams located in Ontario, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The sole Blackhawks prospect in the OHL is Rob Flick of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, drafted in the 4th round (120th overall) in 2010.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is made up 17 teams located in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. There are three Blackhawks prospects currently in the QMJHL: David Gilbert of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, drafted in the 7th round (209th overall) in 2009; Philippe Paradis of the P.E.I Rocket, drafted by the Hurricanes in the 1st round (27th overall) in 2009 (he was acquired in the trade from Toronto involving Kris Versteeg); and Mirko Hoefflin of the Quebec Remparts, drafted in the 6th round (151st overall) in 2010.