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I’m sure this will be overblown:Chicago Tribune

I’d bet the over:WGN

Next up The Human Shield? Blackhawk Up

This will be a common question:SCH

This made my head explode more from confusion than outright anger:SunTimes

This will be CarBomb’s Legacy and I for one am damn proud:Globe&Mail

Finally good news:NHL

Hard-Working Devil:PuckDaddy

Even with Sid, I don’t see the ROI:TSN

I’m assuming people will have an issue with this:Sportsnet

 

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oldschool at salsa shark

Game Time: 3:00PM Central
TV/Radio: WGN, SportsNet (Canada), NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
Josh Costine Is The Antichrist: Fear The Fin

With the riveting thrill ride that is the Big Ten college basketball tournament taking over the United Center for the remainder of this weekend, the Hawks now find themselves subjected to the extremely rare California matinee. And unlike Thursday in the desert, these two points are actually critical for both teams to obtain.

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The Rockford IceHogs are locked in a tight battle for the American Hockey League’s Midwest Division. Currently, the IceHogs are even with the Milwaukee Admirals and the Grand Rapids Griffins with 66 points.

Grand Rapids has gone 7-1-2 in their last ten games to join Milwaukee and Rockford in the pursuit of a Midwest Division title. Milwaukee and Grand Rapids have a game in hand on the Hogs, who dropped two of three games this week.

 

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The Rockford IceHogs broke a three-game losing streak with three wins in three weekend games. Some returning players played a big hand in a big win in Milwaukee Friday along with home triumphs Saturday and Sunday over two of the stronger teams in the AHL’s Western Conference.

The defense was outstanding for the weekend sweep. Rockford allowed just a single goal in each of the three games. The effort was enough to pull to within a point of Milwaukee for the Midwest Division lead.

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Two Rockford IceHogs were selected to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held in Utica January 25-26. T.J. Brennan and Joakim Nordstrom were selected to represent Rockford, who still maintain the lead in the AHL’s Midwest Division.

T.J. Brennan is on the Western Conference All-Stars for the second straight season. Brennan leads the Hogs with 29 points in 38 games. He’s also a plus-16 at this point.

Joakim Nordstrom, currently with the Blackhawks, also made the Western Conference team. Nordstrom, who is Rockford’s captain when he’s in town, has 13 points (8 G, 5 A) in the 17 games he has skated with the IceHogs.

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The Rockford IceHogs ran their road record to 10-4-0-1 this week. The AHL’s Midwest Division leaders beat the Admirals in Milwaukee for the second time in six days Wednesday night. Rockford then split a pair of games at Lake Erie over the weekend.

Heading into another week of travel, Rockford is piling up points away from the BMO Harris Bank Center. One big factor in this road surge has been a dominating penalty kill. Come to think of it, it’s been pretty darn good at home as well.

In 2013-14, the Hogs were an absolute joke when shorthanded. They were dead last in the AHL in this department with a 72.3 success rate. Here are some numbers that show the dramatic change from a season ago:

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The Rockford IceHogs were left a bit shorthanded for last weekend’s action. Adam Clendening, Joakim Nordstrom and Phillip Danault are all traveling with the Blackhawks. Mark McNeill and Michael Leighton are recovering from injuries. It wasn’t a stretch for you to believe the Hogs might take some lumps with three Midwest Division games in three days.

In this case, you’d be wrong.

Rockford ran the table this weekend, winning home games with Iowa and Milwaukee at the BMO Friday and Saturday before shutting out the Wolves in Chicago Sunday afternoon. With 29 points through 19 games, Rockford (14-4-0-1) is currently on top of the AHL.

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The Rockford IceHogs saw an eight-game win streak come to an end in with two losses to the Milwaukee Admirals in the first two games of a three-game weekend. Rockford finished their first three-games in three-nights stretch of the season with a home win in front of a pseudo sell-out audience at the BMO Center Sunday.

With that win, Rockford reclaimed the top spot in the AHL’s Midwest Division. They remain in the second spot in the Western Conference standings with 23 points in 16 games.