Category Archives: AHL

Chicago Blackhawks – Getting into shape


Chicago, IL — Today should be interesting for several reasons. Today is the day that the NHLPA votes on what the final cap number will be by deciding what the escrow escalator amount will be employed.

This is huge for cap strapped teams like the Hawks. While a 2-4 million difference doesn’t sound like much it could be the difference of keeping a player or not.

Also today is the last day trades can be conducted as of 3pm CT due to the expansion. So after 3pm only trades with the Las Vegas Golden Knights can occur til the trade lift which is June 22nd.

Here is link to NHL site for key expansion draft dates – https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-expansion-draft-critical-dates/c-289723278

Tomorrow all the teams eligible players for the expansion draft will be released and I for one can not wait. I will probably construct my own mock Vegas Golden Knights team by playing suedo NHL GM so look for that tomorrow.

Now onto our beloved Chicago Blackhawks, as they are in off season training as an organization of their own. They have recently made some moves both on the player side with many more still to come I’m sure and on the coaching side.

First the player side. The Hawks resigned Michal Kempny D on for another year, I for one was very glad to see.

Personally I don’t think he was used enough last year and his cap hit is perfect for the Hawks with his upside it is a huge win for the organization in my humble opinion.

Having watched this years IIHF World Championships because the Blackhawks were out I really spent a lot of time on the teams that had Hawks players like Russia, Sweden, USA and Czech Republic.

I loved Team Czech Republic’s D core which had both Kempny and the newly signed Jan Rutta. Rutta is 26 yrs old and signed for a cap friendly amount. Between him and Kempny they bring youth and good puck moving skills.

Rutta is tall at 6′ 3″ so he has a great reach with the stick also the scouting on him is he is solid two way and brings a big offensive up side with decent shot and great on ice vision.

These are the types of players the Hawks needed on the Blueline some infusion of youth and physicality along with mobility and offensive upside.

Personally I think Kempny and Rutta should try to shoot more when they can jump in the play especially Kempny he actually has a really good shot.

I also loved Radim Simek from the Czech team but I’m happy they got Rutta who was also being pursued by the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

So thank the Lord he didn’t go to those western young up coming teams. Now both him and Kempny have work to do to in the NHL which brings us to the coaching pickups by the Blackhawks.

Ulf Samuelsson was signed to replace Mike Kitchen and while I have nothing against Mike Kitchen I do think it was time for a change in defensive philosophy since the league is changing.

As a fan I am anxious to see how the defense changes with D zone structure and penalty kill.

Samuelsson comes to the Blackhawks with NHL experience as a defenseman and spending coaching time in Sweden and the AHL.

Now I never saw him play as a defenseman but I’ve heard he was mean and tough which is exactly what the Blackhawks D core could use more of.

Here is a link which describes Samuelsson as a master of mayhem which sounds like exactly what the Hawks need some snarl and bite. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/scott-fowler/article110913602.html

They have the puck moving mobility but need a bit more speed and a lot more of mean. The Hawks D core of Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson have a lot of miles on them so bringing in some youth here and fresh legs will only help them.

Now with bringing in youth or non NHLers like Rutta you need guidance, coaching and development and this is where the second coaching hire of Don Granato comes in.

So yes the Hawks will have basically three defensive minded coaches in Quenneville, Samuelsson and Granato but I think this is great for such an important position.

Granato has coaching experience in the AHL, University of Wisconsin , USNTD program and the 2015 USA junior team so he has plenty of knowledge and experience with working with young players which is exactly what the Hawks need.

Here is a link with more on Granato’s coaching background – http://host.madison.com/wsj/sports/college/hockey/badgers-men-s-hockey-associate-head-coach-don-granato-set/article_2b43a735-9510-5fbe-9514-837b0a99ec99.html

I wouldn’t mind if they got another Offensive asst coach to work with Kevin Dineen with helping all the young forwards develop and adjust to the NHL defenses but I’ll discuss that in another blog.

So I’m glad to see the Chicago Blackhawks are getting into shape organizationally this off season. They are bench pressing to build their core which is the defense.

I can’t wait to see what other changes/adjustments they do in this offseason but so far I like what they did and are doing.

It will be very interesting to see what this team finally shakes out to look like in October. I can’t wait for both the expansion draft and the NHL entry level draft to see what the Hawks do but in the meantime:

Welcome to Chicago gentleman and Let’s GO HAWKS!

 

 

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Chicago Blackhawks – recall Phillip Danault and add passion ardente


Chicago, IL — The Hawks recalled Phillip Danault from the Rockford IceHogs late this week with Andrew Shaw being injured and Patrick Sharp finally put on LTIR there was a spot that opened up for a forward and Phillip Danault got the call.

I have to admit I am a little partial to Danault. The first time I saw Danault on the ice was back in July of 2012 at the Blackhawks prospect camp. From the moment Danault skated onto the ice the kid had a smile on his face that just would not leave. Immediately you could sense his amour de la vie (love of life) and his passion pour le jeu as the French would say or his love of the game. His enthusiasm and passion made those watching put a smile on their face just witnessing his pure joy of playing the game. That was my first and constant impression of Phillip Danault.

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To hear him describe himself to reporters and BHTV as being able to bring his energy and passion pretty much sums up the intangibles of Danault’s game and what separates him from other hockey players. This fire and hunger to play maybe the missing ingredient the Blackhawks have been lacking.

Don’t get me wrong I love all the Hawks but this year they have looked a little stale and bored with playing in some of the games which is only natural when you have 82 games and some not so thrilling opponents to get through. We all know the regular season is a grind but you have to get through this to make the playoffs. Danault brings life, energy, fire, that je ne sais quoi   the Hawks have been missing.

PhillipDanault

 

There is a relentlessness to Danault’s game and intensity that is unyielding and a passion that is contagious which, maybe just what the Blackhawks need right now. It’s perfect that he is joining the team on the circus trip with more time to bond with the boys and hopefully they will catch some of Danault’s fire.

The tangibles and hockey skills that Danault will bring are also what the Hawks have failed to demonstrate on a consistent basis. He brings a commitment to the small details of the game and a responsible two way game. Let’s face it other than Jonathan Toews and Marcus Kruger at the center position the Hawks could use this at the center position.

Danault when he was with the Hawks in preseason this year I believe consistently was over the 70% mark in face offs won. For a team that likes and wants the puck this alone makes Danault a valuable addition. Even if Danault is put on the wing he can always come in to take face offs when/where need be and isn’t that nice to know as a coaching staff you have someone to relay on who more times than not will get you the puck.

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Danault is also an excellent skater with great balance and we all know how much the Hawks love their fast skaters so there should be no problem with Danault fitting in and keeping up with any line he is on. His fore-check skills and patience with the puck is also top notch. His intensity along the boards is something you notice right away. Phillip Danault, never repeat never, gives up on a play or the puck in any of the zones. If in the rare instance he loses the puck he battles to get it back- ala Marian Hossa.

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Danault is getting the opportunity because he has played well for the Rockford IceHogs this year. In 14 games he has 10 points (3G/7A) but more importantly he is a +6. Yes he is an excellent penalty killer which would be nice if the Hawks could rotate him in with Kruger, Smith, Toews & Hossa to give them a rest especially Hossa. The Hawks need to keep him as fresh as they can for a long run into the playoffs and Danault would be a perfect reliever on the PK.

Even though Danault is primarily known for his defensive skills and work ethic he is also an excellent passer and puck distributor. Late last year in Rockford he and Ryan Hartman were burning up the opposition. This year, his line with Mark McNeill and Garrett Ross has been doing the same thing with the IceHogs. Danault is not afraid to go to the net which is definitely something most teams can use and especially the Hawks.

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Danault will make his debut with the Hawks tonight against a young, skilled Edmonton Oilers team that should make for an interesting game with all the speed and youthful energy and skill out on the ice. I can’t think of a better team for Danault to be making his NHL debut against.

Show them what you got kid, play your game with that Phillip Danault flare and everything will be fine. Go live your dream kid.

Oh and Allons-y Hawks!!!

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Chicago Blackhawks -rookie tournament summary


Over the weekend the Chicago Blackhawks rookies and prospects attended a tournament in London, Ontario along with rookies/prospects from the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins.  For the most part the Blackhawks roster mirrored the Rockford IceHogs upcoming roster with a few prospects thrown in and some invitees.

The Hawks prospects did not win any of their games however they were close as two went to shoot out and we all know how well even the big club does with shoot outs. The games were very entertaining. Since this was a basically informal tournament there is not too much to fret over or maybe too much to gleam from but there were some observations worth noting.

In general the boys need to tighten up in their own zone and learn to close gaps better and not get out of position but that comes with experience.  On the defense Stephen Johns was a force. He does remind one of Brent Seabrook not only due to his size but his reach and stick work. Even if Johns gets in trouble he somehow manages to recover which is huge if that skill can translate to the pro levels.

Viktor Svedberg is just flat out huge physically with a booming shot from the point and surprising agility in his skating for a big man.

Dillon Fournier is such a smooth skater and really graceful strides and does not mind jumping up on the rush and getting involved offensively.  Trevor Van Riemsdyk also had a couple of plays where he defended his zone well.

The game against the Pittsburgh Penguins saw Teuvo Teravainen and Mark McNeill sitting out. That being said Phillip Danault had a great tourney he had a lot of assists and one goal in that game with the Pens where he scored a beauty of goal from his knees. Hard work and never giving up on plays and driving the net are Danault staples. What was also evident and maybe something most people have not noticed is his passing abilities are top notch. He had multiple tape to tape crisp passes to set up teammates perfectly. Also Danault was teamed up with line mates that he does not usually play with which made his passing prowess more impressive.

The pass of the tourney however belonged to Teuvo Teravainen which is no surprise. He had a gorgeous behind the net no look pass to a waiting Mark McNeill in front of the net that Patrick Kane was worthy of. What is obvious is Teravainen has innate offensive hockey sense he is crafty and always in the right place at the right time it seems. His hands are soft as butter and his vision is uncanny.

Mark McNeill is going to be a pure sniper, if someone can get him the puck this guy knows how to bury it. The chemistry between him and Teravainen was very good and will only get better if they are both in Rockford together or on the Hawks.

Hawk Invitee Brett Welychka also impressed. He has been invited to a number of camps with the Leafs, Lightening and now the Hawks and it was evident and he has a booming shot as well.

Matt Carey also had a good tournament and was all over the ice and had the game tying goals against the Penguins.

Hawks fans get out to Rockford and catch these guys, you won’t be disappointed.

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Chicago Blackhawks – Renewable Energy source from Rockford


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Chicago, Il – Amateur Scouting has always been a key for the Blackhawks and never has it been more important in the current salary cap era to have a plethora of young talent waiting in the wings. The Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate has never been more center stage than in the upcoming years.

The next wave of Blackhawks is currently sitting on the IceHogs’ roster. It will be a year for the IceHogs coaching staff to get the next wave ready not only for the Blackhawks but for the rigors of the NHL. If there is a criticism of the IceHogs it maybe they have not reached their playoffs for the past 4 years. This is something they should look to right this year.

Young players can never learn to early the pressures and rigors of playoff hockey and how to cope. The sooner they experience this in the minors the better prepped they will be in the NHL. As we all know there is nothing quite like playoff hockey at any level.

Look at the LA Kings AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs or the Dallas Stars affiliate the Texas Stars both of these AHL teams have steadily made the playoffs the last four years. This past playoff series we saw the Kings’ players that came up through their farm team were NHL playoff ready. Players like Tyler Tofoli, Jake Muzzin & Tanner Pearson had their AHL playoff experience to help them deal with this year’s NHL playoffs.

I’m pointing this out only with the aim to make both the Rockford IceHogs better and the Blackhawks better. Plus the Rockford fan base deserves a winner. The IceHogs were just given an award for having the most increased ticket sales. It’s time to give back to the fans and get these young men ready for playoff hockey, as we all know the Chicago Blackhawks will be in the playoff hunt for years to come.

Blackhawks fans there are plenty of reasons for making the trip to Rockford. This year there will be a virtual buffet of talents there on the ice. The next wave of Blackhawks like Teuvo Teravainen, Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Garrett Ross, Ryan Hartman and Dennis Rasmussen up front and on the blue line, Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck & Victor Svedberg all waiting to take the next step to the big city.

Personally I can’t wait to see a line of Phillip Danault, Ryan Hartman and Andrew Shaw at the UC. That is a whole lot of speed, grit, work ethic and skill all together and Danault and Hartman already have chemistry. I make myself dizzy with the thought of Teuvo Teravainen centering Patrick Kane. Oh the spin-o-rama delights and slick passing is endless or Teuvo on a line with Marian Hossa who just does everything well. I’d love to see Mark McNeill opposite either Ben Smith or Bryan Bickell with a whole lot of Mac truck crash, bang, boom deliveries along the boards but hey that’s just me.

TT back

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This year at most there will be two, yes only two spots, as I see it open on the Blackhawks if that and one of them will be a defenseman. That leaves only one open possible spot or these players who must otherwise battle a current NHL player for a spot which in order to do that you have to really impress the coaches. I’m not saying that can’t be done but its tough.

These kids are going to have to work their, you know what off, but it is possible even on a talented team like the Hawks. Preparing these kids is imperative. Most of those players will stay in Rockford for now so get out and see them folks these kids are good really really good.

As for the players don’t get frustrated or discouraged which is easy to do. Bid your time, improve, listen to your coaches and keep working you will make the Hawks when you are ready. The Hawks saw something in you otherwise you would not have been drafted. Hint mind your defensive responsibilities first that is the surest way to get to the next level.

Centers become flawless faceoff masters, Wingers become board battlers, All forwards hone that two way game, Defenseman play the body as well as the stick and learn to block shots and close gaps, goalies watch your rebound control and positioning. Get these things down and you’ll be in the NHL soon.

On the horizon, there are so many talents. For those that went to the prospect camp this year you know what I mean. The line of 1st rounder Nick Schmaltz, Anthony Louis and John Hayden was just sick and these are still college kids wait until they get more experience. The skill in the hands of these three players is unreal and they already click. Hayden is just a physical beast. That kid has some serious size and skill. Louis and Schmaltz have history with playing with each other on the Chicago Mission and both have great hands and on ice vision.

John Hayden bench

Schmaltz- Hinostroza

Local boy Vincent Hinostroza who has been to previous camps has so much speed and battle in the corners and knows how to score and get to the net. He may not be big but boy this kid never gives up.

On the defensive side Nick Mattson & Michael Paliotta stood out and are returners to the Blackhawks prospect camps. Their defensive positioning and puck movement was very good. All of these kids can skate.

All of these players will be returning to school for the most part. The Hawks now have a healthy pipeline of prospects so look to them in the future to draft more college prospects and possibly more young Europeans. The Hawks have the luxury of letting them have time to grow and develop which makes both of these options ideal for the Hawks.

Whether you’re an IceHogs fan or a Blackhawks fan the future for both of these organizations is very bright indeed and for the fans get out and see some incredibly fast, skilled players either at the UC or in Rockford I guarantee you will like what you see.

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Chicago Blackhawks’ Stan Bowman – The Negotiator


Chicago, IL — It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. You can also say that the pen may even be just as mighty as the hockey stick when it comes to building and sustaining championship hockey teams.

The moves made or not made off the ice may play just as significant a role as all the moves on the ice during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Chicago Blackhawks and their General Manager Stan Bowman seem to understand this very well. Stan Bowman’s moves may rival Patrick Kane’s spin-o-rama only in the boardroom not on the ice.

Committing to excellence is one thing but it may actually be harder to sustain and maintain excellence.  Stan Bowman seems to take this charge very seriously and so far has made all the right moves. To win two Stanley Cups in four years is no easy feat in the salary cap era. He also has this team positioned for future championships for quite some time.

Canadian radio is envious of the Blackhawks and the position that they are in. Since they are the best they have now become the measure other teams and their fans judge their teams by and their rosters. Recently on Canadian radio I heard Toronto lament how the Hawks have more cap space than the Maple Leafs and few holes to fill which the Leafs have cap issues and a lot of holes to fill. Envy is the most sincerest form of flattery so Stan should be flattered.

Stan Bowman not only seems to have endeared himself with his players, coaches, staff and media but also with the Chicago Blackhawk fans. He is winning fans himself with the moves he has made or not made with the roster. On twitter during the summer after a signing, it is not uncommon to see GO STAN GO!

He has won me over with how he treats his players with respect. In an era of corporate greed and company’s devaluation of their work force and off shoring it is truly refreshing to see someone who actually understands managing a work force, loyalty and plain old just doing the right thing by people.

This week Stan Bowman has stated the Hawks are committed to keeping Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in a Blackhawks jersey forever. Now this may seem to not be a good negotiation strategy but I think it is a shrewd and wise move. It shows he recognizes and is committed to players who are irreplaceable to this team’s success.

Most corporations would have you believe there is no such thing as an employee that is not able to be replaced but as we have seen there are certain people with skills that are just not easily replaced if at all. Stan has identified his core, of which Toews and Kane are a part of. I doubt anyone who follows the Hawks think he is wrong in his assessment of these players value to this team. Bravo Stan for acknowledging it and committing to these extraordinary players and people.

When I first started to notice Stan Bowman’s skill with personnel was with Patrick Kane. First it was his maturity questions then there were unfounded trade rumor speculations mostly by the media and uneducated fans. Stan was always quick to stand by and for Patrick Kane maybe even taking criticism for keeping Kane on the Hawks, fortunately he doesn’t listen to the critics and had faith in his young phenom winger.

The Boston Bruins recently ran into the similar issues with their young star Tyler Seguin but chose to trade him rather than work through the issues with Tyler. Maybe they are right maybe they are wrong, but the Chicago Blackhawk fans are glad Patrick Kane remains a Hawk. To have given up on Kane would be very shortsighted. Patrick Kane himself recently got teary eyed when speaking of the Blackhawk organizations’ faith and belief in him. 1

Stan also recently resigned Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Bryan Bickell all of whom gave Stan and the Blackhawks a reduction in salary for staying in Chicago. Why? Because they all know they are part of something special and good. The Hawks gave them all a chance to succeed and maybe believed in them when no other team would. Now they can return the favor and try and win more championships and remain part of a great team.

Bowman again identified and rewarded keys to the Blackhawks success. For all of the Corey Crawford doubters, Stan was right about him. In fact it probably should have been Crawford that walked away with the Conn Smyth instead of Kane. His consistency during the playoffs again made Stan Bowman look like a genius.

One of Stan Bowman’s strengths is his scouting staff headed up by Mark Kelley and the work they are doing with identifying  Blackhawks’ prospects. Equally important is developing them headed up by Barry Smith. Bowman is intelligent enough to have quality people on his staff and let them do their jobs.

Having personally attended a prospect camp you can tell that Stan Bowman and the entire Hawks organization are very interested in their young prospects developing into Blackhawks. Just look at Bryan Bickell and Corey Crawford to name a few.

This team also is not afraid to give the young guns a shot with the big club. In fact that is why some of the current Hawks had to leave to make room for the prospects. Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks know the future is how well your prospects develop and the more experience they get the better they will be. Hockey is a young man’s game.

This past year look at the opportunities Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Brandon Saad got and what they gained. Their futures are very bright and to have an organization helping you develop your skills and give you world class training so you can be your best is something not all teams do.

The farm team the Rockford Icehogs have players ready to make the jump like Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin ect.. which again Bowman had a hand in these players as well.

The Blackhawks now have a plethora of talent waiting in the wings like Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Adam Clendening, Teuvo Teravainen and Mac Carruth just to name a few. All of which Stan has locked up for some time ensuring the Blackhawks will have plenty of talent in the future.

Stan also understands by having these fledging stars in Rockford it garners interest in the Icehogs while they develop. Hell I’m listening to their rookie camp on Ottawa radio he’s got me committed to this team and their young prospects and I’m not alone

This willingness to give the young players a chance will also ensure that all young prospects will want to come to the Blackhawks. Plus who wouldn’t want to be on a line with Sharp, Kane or Toews or on the blue line next to a Keith, Seabrook or Oduya ect.. Stan has said if you show the team you belong with these players you can make the Hawks it’s up to the player – talk about motivation.

Stan also improved the Hawks when he brought in veterans Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival to improve the blue line before the season and then at the trade deadline he signed Michal Handzus to help improve the Hawks faceoffs and shore up the center position for the playoffs. Well he did something right they got another Cup.

Stan Bowman is managing this team with intelligence and foresight. Having waged battles himself with the greatest foe humanity has known cancer maybe has given Bowman an insight and a wisdom few have.

He seems to have a clear understanding of what one’s priorities should be. He has a calm to his demeanor and you never get the sense he makes decisions without much consideration and thought. It also doesn’t hurt that his dad is hockey legend Scotty Bowman who he can always turn to for advice.

What Stan Bowman is building in Chicago with the Blackhawks is a team of exciting, highly skilled hockey players. More importantly though it is being built with a group of young men with unparalleled work ethics, intelligence, character, remarkable leadership and a mental fortitude to overcome anything and their GM mirrors these attributes. Sounds like a formula for future championships to me.

 

1 CSN interview with Patrick Kane on 8/1/13 – http://www.csnchicago.com/sportsnetChicago/search/v/78925780/kane-emotional-for-blackhawks-giving-him-a-chance.htm

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Chicago’s new rivalry on ice


Chicago, IL — While the boring rivalry between the NHL & NHLPA is being waged in NY and Toronto a much more interesting rivalry is heating up on Chicago’s ice. A cross town classic of a chilly sort like revenge being served cold it is not as intense yet as the Chicago Blackhawks vs the Vancouver Canucks but it is early in the AHL season and there is plenty of time for a healthy disdain and dislike to grow.

The AHL is now filled with the youth of the NHL but old rivalries will be renewed in games this season between the Rockford Ice Hogs who are the Chicago Blackhawks farm team and the Chicago Wolves who are the Vancouver Canucks farm team. There are plenty of players on both sides that played in the NHL and are fully aware of the dislike these two clubs have for each other.

This feud of the young bloods or young guns could grow more intense due to players trying to make good impressions and make their NHL rosters once the lockout has ended. While the AHL is not the NHL the organizations behind all of these teams is the same and have the same philosophies for how a team should be run.

The big arch-enemy on the Wolves this year will be RW Zach Kassian. Doesn’t sound familiar? Well If you don’t recall who he is remember the game Canuck’s Alex Burrows strategically placed his knee in Duncan Keith’s groin while he was down on the ground. It was Kassian that was trying to engage and bait Brent Seabrook so he could not assist his team-mate Keith while Burrows was trying to rearrange his privates.

Remember too that Kassian was brought into Canuck’s organization to bring muscle and size to the forward lines. The Canucks gave up a very skilled player in Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres to get Kassian for what they thought was going to be a long playoff run.

If that was not enough the IceHogs and the Wolves also just happen to be in the same division  – the Midwest Division in the AHL. This should add extra spice and incentive for a little hate to go a long way. Also in the AHL unlike the NHL these teams will meet 12 times this season. That should give plenty of time for this baby to boil over by the end of the year.

The way these games are schedule will also give each player time to really get sick of the players on the other team. Their schedules have them playing a lot of contests that are close to each other. The AHL season kicked off for the Wolves playing back to back home games vs the Icehogs over the weekend in Chicago.

Was the weekend soiree as heated as your normal Blackhawks vs Canucks?  Well not yet but it did have its moments.  Familiar foe Kassian was wrecking havoc behind the IceHogs goal when he launched himself into IceHog  Ryan Stanton and Jimmy Hayes came in to stick up for his team-mate who was in a bad position on the ice thanks to the Kassian body launch.  I know everyone is looking forward to when Mr. Kassian is introduced to Mr. Brandon Bollig’s right uppercut.

What will also make this an interesting rivalry is that both teams goalies are very good if not spectacular at times. Wolves Eddie Lack and IceHog’s Carter Hutton should make worthy adversaries in net for their teams. As long as Lack and Hutton are in nets you can never count their teams out no matter what the score is.

The Rockford IceHogs have a very young team, one of the youngest in the AHL. This should give the Wolves an edge with experience but, there are plenty of IceHogs that spent some time with the Blackhawks and have a lot of NHL experience which should serve them well.  The IceHogs need time for their offense to gel but once it does there is enough fire power on this team to light up most goalies.

The next confrontation between these two clubs will happen in just a couple of weeks on November 9th in Rockford. This time the Wolves will be the visitor although they had to wonder over the weekend who the visitor actually was as it seemed the crowd was either split on Saturday night or pro IceHogs on Sunday afternoon. Chants of Lets go IceHogs could readily be heard on a number of occasions.

The young IceHogs should take this opportunity to show all that they have and showcase their talents without the shadow of NHL stars being present. The IceHogs are now their team but what remains the same is a foe that plays outside the rules regardless of league and players that are rewarded for their physicality and will use any method possible to make the big club.

After the weekend contest the Wolves came out on the winning end and now have the edge in the division over the IceHogs but there are ten glorious contests between these two that still remains. Call it the battle of Illinois or the battle of I-90 or Hawks/Canucks part II, call it whatever you like but one thing it isn’t is a contest between two farm teams in a developmental league, that went out the plexi-glass the moment these two teams stepped on the ice.

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