The goal of the Rockford IceHogs as the Blackhawks AHL affiliate is pretty clear cut. Winning is secondary to pushing talent through the I-90 pipeline. Success means that Stan Bowman can stock his roster with quality players (or offer that talent around the league for annual cup runs, take your pick).
Obviously, Chicago’s run at the top of the NHL has prevented Bowman from selecting an franchise-type skater in the first-round the last several seasons. There are plenty of difference-makers on the current Hawks roster that honed their games in the Forest City. Corey Crawford. Niklas Hjalmarsson. Andrew Shaw.
Bryan Bickell (oops).
By the way, Rockford apparently beat Milwaukee 5-2 Tuesday and then dropped a pair in Charlotte over the weekend. Didn’t catch a second of one game; I was behind a sound board making sure an audience could hear a tale as old as time this week.
I promise that you’ll get the usual breakdowns starting with next week’s post. Until then, I thought I’d shine a beam of light on some of the fortunes of Chicago’s recent picks toiling in Rockford and…well…other places.