The Rockford IceHogs have been limited on game action in recent weeks due to some schedule changes. That should change on Wednesday when the Hogs play four times in an eight-day span.

After defeating the Chicago Wolves for the second straight time at the BMO Harris Bank Center, the piglets get the opportunity to knock off the Central Division leaders in Hoffman Estates Wednesday night. A weekend set in Iowa follows on Friday and Saturday, then Rockford heads to Grand Rapids for a rescheduled date with the Griffins on April 28.


Rainy-Day Thoughts

  • It was against a Wolves team that was down a few scorers, but Saturday’s shootout win was arguably the most satisfying win of the year for Rockford. The IceHogs had to erase two deficits, including a desperation goal in the final moments of regulation. In a rare display of offensive push, Rockford managed to tip the rink toward an opponent’s zone and generate some real scoring chances.
  • Ivan Nalimov wasn’t razor-sharp, but he did pick up a win in his second start against the Wolves. It was an upgrade over his debut when he got lit up by Chicago to the tune of six goals. Nalimov and Cale Morris are looking at some work over the next two weeks unless Matt Tomkins is sent back to Rockford from the Blackhawks taxi squad.
  • On Sunday, F John Quenneville, who missed the last 40 minutes of action Saturday night, was called up to the taxi squad. I assume it is injury-related. It has been a trying season for Quenneville; he has just two points (1 G, 1 A) in 16 games.
  • Anton Lindholm came back to Rockford Sunday. The defenseman last skated for the IceHogs on April 3. He is pointless in six appearances.
  • There was another Brandon Pirri sighting at the BMO Saturday. The veteran forward logged an assist on the MacKenzie Entwistle goal that tied the game late in regulation and contributed a successful shootout attempt. He also looked to have scored in the third period on a breakaway attempt, but the AHL is not reviewing goals this season. Pirri had to settle for extending his point streak to four games (basically every game he’s played in Rockford this season).
  • IceHogs captain Garrett Mitchell had himself a rare two-fight evening Saturday. He dropped the gloves with Josh Healey in the second period and had to head to the locker room for a little maintenance. Midway through the third, he stepped in to tangle with Cavan Fitzgerald. Mitchell was then sent to the locker room, not to heal, but with a game misconduct.
  • After leaving Wednesday’s game in Iowa with a leg injury, Evan Barratt did not skate Saturday. It is possible that we get more details this week from the IceHogs.


Saturday, April 17-Rockford 4, Chicago 3 (SO)

Rockford capped off a blue-collar effort at the BMO, rallying in the final minutes and besting the Wolves for the second straight game between the clubs.

The IceHogs took advantage of a Wolves miscue to take a 1-0 lead 5:56 into the contest. Chicago defenseman Frederic Allard whiffed on a one-time attempt at the IceHogs blueline, allowing D.J. Busdeker to lead an odd-man rush the other way. Busdeker found Reese Johnson at the right circle; the resulting shot beat Wolves goalie Connor Ingram high to the glove side.

Chicago scored the next two goals of the game. Cole Smith redirected a Joey Keene blast past Hogs goalie Ivan Nalimov, who had lost his stick trying to handle a dump-in behind the net, to tie things at one goal at the 14:11 mark. The Wolves quickly picked up a power play after a cross-check by MacKenzie Entwistle. At 14:46, David Cotton put Chicago up 2-1 right off the faceoff with his eighth goal of the season.

Rockford was able to draw even late in the middle frame. Busdeker sent a shot to the Wolves net that Ingram appeared to handle. However, the puck came out and the Hogs rookie was able to regain possession. This time Busdeker sent a backhand attempt that glanced off of a Chicago defender and found Andrei Altybarmakian at the right post. Altybarmakian shoveled the puck into the cage, making it a 2-2 affair at 15:47 of the second.

Chicago secured a late goal to regain the lead. Sean Malone brought the puck into the Rockford zone, skating around the net and back up to the left dot. A quick backhand pass to Smith in the slot resulted in a one-timer that beat Nalimov with eleven seconds left in the second period. The IceHogs entered the second intermission down 3-2.

The IceHogs pressed for the equalizer for most of the final period. It would not come until the final minutes, with Nalimov on the Rockford bench in favor of an extra skater.

Brandon Pirri hustled to beat a Wolves defender to a pass attempt by Cody Franson at the right circle before threading a pass of his own to Entwistle in the slot. Entwistle stickhandled to the net, only to see his initial shot stopped. Gathering in the rebound, Entwistle sent a shot off the back of Ingram.

The puck caromed into the air in front of the crease. Smith attempted to knock it down and inadvertently batted it into the Chicago net with 2:11 remaining in regulation. After a scoreless overtime session, it would come down to penalty shots.

Tim Soderlund and Pirri drew cord for the IceHogs, while Nalimov denied Patrick Harper and Cotton to earn Rockford the victory.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Josiah Slavin-MacKenzie Entwistle-Brandon Pirri

John Quenneville (A)-Reese Johnson-D.J. Busdeker

Matej Chalupa-Dylan McLaughlin-Tim Soderlund

Andrei Altybarmakian-Garrett Mitchell (C)-Michal Teply

Issak Phillips-Cody Franson (A)

Cole Moberg-Michael Krutil

Alec Regula-Dimitry Osipov

Ivan Nalimov

Cale Morris

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for my thoughts on the IceHogs throughout the season.


The Rockford IceHogs dropped a pair of games to the Chicago Wolves over the weekend. The piglets were blown out in the Wolves practice facility in Hoffman Estates Saturday night. The following afternoon, Rockford lost a back-and-forth affair to Chicago at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Here are some musings on the first two of what will be four straight games with the Wolves.

  • The Hogs were never in Saturday’s 6-3 loss. Ivan Nalimov made his debut in net for Rockford and was not good at all. The Wolves were up two goals before the opening minute elapsed and led 3-0 after the first. Cody Franson, Evan Barratt, and Reese Johnson scored for the piglets.
  • Rockford had just one power play chance in Hoffman Estates. Sunday, the Hogs went three-for-five on the man advantage, which allowed then to be more competitive against the class of the Central Division.
  • In his pro debut, Josiah Slavin tied the score with a power play goal early in the third period on Sunday. 1:15 into the final frame, the score was tied 4-4. From that point on, the Hogs were out shot 11-1 over the rest of the contest, losing 5-4.
  • Barratt picked up another goal in Sunday’s loss, his fourth of the season. Barratt has eleven points in 18 games (4 G, 7 A) and is on a three-game point streak. Dylan McLaughlin and Wyatt Kalynuk also caught cord for Rockford.
  • Franson had a three-point weekend and has a four-game point streak going. He is atop the Hogs in points with 14 (4 G, 10 A).
  • Andrei Altybarmakyan sat out the weekend. Hopefully it’s nothing long-term, as he’s been a bright spot in terms of Hawks prospects.
  • Matt Tomkins didn’t fare much better than Nalimov in net in Sunday’s defeat. He was victimized by a couple of deflections, but misplayed a puck behind his net which led to the game-winner from the Wolves Jamieson Rees.
  • Tomkins is still deserving of the bulk of Rockford’s work load in net. That said, I would really like to see rookie Cale Morris (1.72 GAA, .956 save percentage in three appearances) get a chance to face down the Wolves in one of the IceHogs next two games.
  • Chad Yetman, who had a goal in Rockford’s first game of the season, was sent to the Indy Fuel on Friday. The IceHogs also sent D Dimitry Osipov to their ECHL affiliate. Cliff Watson returns to the Fuel after Rockford released him from his PTO. The Blackhawks also assigned Brad Morrison (3 G, 2 A in six games for the Hogs) to Indy Friday.
  • Mikael Hakkarainen is one of several Chicago prospects to yo-yo between Rockford and Chicago’s taxi squad. Hakkarainen has appeared in just six games for the IceHogs this season. Currently in his second season of his entry contract, Hakkarainen is pointless in 14 games for his pro career.
  • Brandon Pirri and Alec Regula also were recalled to the taxi squad, with forwards MacKenzie Entwistle and Reese Johnson and defensemen Wyatt Kalynuk, Lucas Carlsson, and Ian Mitchell coming down to Rockford for the weekend’s action.
  • John Quenneville has struggled to produce on the offensive end this season. In twelve games, he has just one goal and one assist. Quenneville has spent most of the campaign dealing with nagging injuries. He took a big hit against the Wolves on Saturday and was out of the lineup on Sunday.
  • Rockford finishes March with a 5-5 record and is 6-11-1 overall. They are currently 0-5 against the Wolves this season. The Hogs will attempt to pick up that elusive first win over Chicago on the road Saturday night.

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for news and opinions on the IceHogs throughout the season.


The Rockford IceHogs are readying themselves for a heavy dose of the Cleveland Monsters. The Blackhawks AHL affiliate has just four games with the Monsters this season. However, they all are to be played this week.

The Monsters were to have started the season at the BMO Harris Bank Center on February 5 and 6. Those games had to be rescheduled. Rockford hosts back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday, then travels to Cleveland for games on Saturday and Sunday.

COVID-19 issues kept the Monsters grounded in Cleveland to open the season, with only three games under their belt. The Monsters, like Rockford, are still looking to pick up their first win of the season. They’re coming off an overtime loss in Grand Rapids Saturday afternoon.


Easy Breezy Weekend

Rockford was idle over the weekend. That isn’t going to happen for the remainder of the AHL season unless something changes.

Cam Morrison is still waiting to play his first game with the IceHogs after being banged up in training camp. Anton Lindholm, as reported last week, will be missing the next month-plus with a broken thumb.

Forward John Quenneville took a puck to the face in the third period of Thursday’s loss to Grand Rapids. He quickly returned to action in that game, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him sit out with so many forwards available.

It may also be a week that coach Derek King elects to give one or both of his young AHL contracts, Cale Morris and Tom Aubrun, a turn in the Hogs crease. Matt Tomkins has been solid so far, but I wouldn’t think he plays both ends of both back-to-backs.


Closeup On The Monsters

This Cleveland squad may not be among the AHL’s elite. However, the Monsters have a large collection of veteran players who are more than capable of taking advantage of rookie mistakes.

First of all, Rockford’s leading scorer and captain, Tyler Sikura, signed with Cleveland. Sikura plays a straight-forward game and always around the net to convert on opportunities.

Zac Dalpe is a long-time Monsters center who was selected as the team’s captain this season. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2019-20 campaign. However, he’s well-accustomed to putting pucks into Rockford nets over the years. Dalpe and Sikura have been teamed with second-year forward Trey Fix-Wolanski on Cleveland’s top line.

Nathan Gerbe is another experienced player the young campers will have to deal with. Forwards like Nick Lappin, Justin Scott, and Kole Sherwood all have several seasons of AHL action under their belts.

Liam Foudy, the Blue Jackets first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, was recently sent to the Monsters for some work on his game. Foudy is a big, speedy forward that will need to be accounted for.

The defense will be led by Dillon Simpson, who had 23 points (9 G, 14 A) for Cleveland last season. Joining him is AHL veteran Adam Clendenning, who is quite adept on running a power play at this level. The former IceHog had 41 points (7 G, 34 A) in 55 games with the Monsters last season. He was recently sent to Cleveland from the Columbus taxi squad.

Veini Vehvilainen is back at goalie for his second pro season, having posted a 2.76 GAA and a .901 save percentage in 33 games in 2019-20. However, long-time Monsters backup Brad Theissen has been in goal for all three of Cleveland’s games and will no doubt see action in the back-to-back series.

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for updates on IceHogs action throughout the season.





The Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, are opening the 2020-21 season. Just not the way we thought they would.

The young Hogs were supposed to raise the curtain against the Cleveland Monsters, who were set to visit Rockford this weekend. Unfortunately, the AHL’s COVID-19 protocols have prevented this from happening. The two games have been postponed. Stepping in as an opponent are the Chicago Wolves, who will take on the piglets Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

There are plenty of top-level prospects on the Chicago roster, along with a host of players who have multiple seasons of AHL experience. This is in stark contrast to the IceHogs roster.

Of the 30 players listed on the IceHogs roster heading into Saturday, 17 of them have yet to play an AHL game. Four players (Garrett Mitchell, Cody Franson, Gabriel Gagne, and John Quenneville) have combined for 974 of the 1281 AHL games played by this year’s team.

You could say “Well, everyone’s in the same boat this season.” However, the Hogs are dead last in the AHL in games played by almost 400 games. The Wolves have 17 players on their 30-man roster with at least 50 games of AHL experience. Rockford has just seven.

In his media session this week, head coach Derek King stressed patience with a young squad that will be making a lot of mistakes as they learn the professional game. Regarding the match-up with Cleveland, King was realistic about his young team, especially at forward, where he described the IceHogs as “young and naive”.

“I don’t think they know what’s going to hit them,” King said, “until that first game when the game is really on the line.”

Though King was referring to the scheduled first game with the Monsters, the same thoughts apply for Chicago, who beat Rockford 6-1 last week in the piglets sole preseason tilt.

Here’s what’s going to hit the Hogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center Saturday afternoon.

A Look At The Chicago Wolves

Chicago is drawing prospects from two NHL clubs; Carolina and Nashville.

Carolina just vacated Charlotte as its AHL affiliate, but not before the Checkers won the 2019 Calder Cup. Nashville’s affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, was the best team in the league when play stopped last spring. The Ads elected to sit out this shortened season and send their prospects to Chicago.

The result of this dual affiliation is that the Wolves are loaded.

Both of Carolina’s first-round picks from 2019 and 2020, Ryan Suzuki and Seth Jarvis, have turned pro and are on the Wolves roster. Suzuki played for Canada in this year’s World Junior Championships. Jarvis is coming off a 98-point season with Portland of the WHL.

Nashville’s first-rounder from 2019, Philip Tomasino, will also be entering his rookie season with the Wolves. He had six points (4 G, 2 A) for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. Dominik Bokk is also a former number one selection, by St. Louis in the 2018 NHL Draft, making his league debut.

Drew Shore, who has AHL service time for the Panthers and Flames, spent the last four years in Europe. Orland Park native Dave Gust posted 31 points (11 G, 20 A) for Charlotte in 60 games last season. Anthony Richard comes over from the Admirals, where he’s been a reliable goal-scorer over the last four seasons.

All the Wolves defensemen have at least one year of AHL experience. The exception is rookie D.J. King, son of Hogs coach Derek King, who is on an amateur tryout.

Anchoring the blue line is Alexandre Carrier, a Predators prospect who had five goals and 32 helpers for the Admirals last season. Milwaukee teammate Jeremy Davies (4 G, 24 A) joins him in Chicago.

Joey Keane split his rookie season between Hartford and Charlotte. Combined, the Chicago native finished with 37 points (9 G, 28 A) in 58 games. Tyler Lewington has five years under his belt with the Hershey Bears and will add yet more experience to the Wolves defense. Cavan Fitzgerald spent the last three seasons with San Jose and Charlotte.

The Wolves Achilles Heel may be in the crease. Jeremy Helvig is a Hurricanes prospect who has just two AHL starts over the last two seasons. Beck Warm is on an AHL contract with the Wolves after a junior career in the WHL.

Veteran AHL goalie Antoine Bibeau was assigned to the Wolves from Carolina and does lend six seasons of work in net for Toronto and SanJose. He started just two games for the Colorado Eagles last season before undergoing hip surgery.

Chicago kicks off its 2020-21 season at home against Grand Rapids Friday night, so the Hogs will likely be the fresher team coming into the contest. Rockford probably has the advantage in net, but Saturday should prove to be a tough opening test for Rockford.


Roster Moves

Wednesday, the Blackhawks recalled defenseman Madison Bowey to the taxi squad, sending two rookies to Rockford. Forward Michal Teply and defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk are now available for coach Derek King to work into the lineup.

Matthew Thompson, one of the Hogs AHL contracts, was sent to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL on Wednesday.

I will be live-tweeting the game @JonFromi and will be up for discussing what transpires at the BMO as the Hogs begin the season.








Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

They got farther than they should have. Some of the kids showed flashes of brilliance. Others looked everything from odious to unusable. We got a couple more classic games from one of our favorite guys. And all the while a coach. My oh my, a coach.

Jeremy Colliton is so revolutionary and paradigm shifting that even the things he does right he does wrong. Waiting until Game 5 of a Quarterfinal you didn’t belong in to scratch Alex Nylander had all urgency and foresight of cleaning out a toilet full of shit only after you’ve begun suffering from ambient sepsis. But given how exceedingly low he has set the bar for himself, that he scratched him at all is praiseworthy.

But then, he didn’t stop at dressing John Quenneville, oh no. He started him on the first line with Toews and Kubalik in an elimination game. Yeah, alright, make your point, whatever it is. But then he kept putting Quenneville out there. On purpose. In an elimination game. That line ended up with a 30 CF%. And a goal against. And Jeremy Colliton kept running it out there. On purpose. In an elimination game.

Fucking check THIS shit out. At the end of the second period, Brandon Saad shared the ice with Jonathan Toews for 16 seconds. In that time, they had a 3 CF, 0 CA, and a goal. In seven seconds—7 fucking seconds, dear reader—with Dominik Kubalik, they had a 2 CF, 0 CA, and a goal.

In what incomprehensible galaxy is it acceptable to skate John Quenneville over Brandon Saad on the first line? In an elimination game. If the very point of this experience was to get younger guys playoff experience, how does skating John Quenneville over Sikura, Hagel, Kurashev, or even Mackenzie THE OX Entwistle accomplish this? Please note that I cannot possibly care fucking less that John Quenneville is 24. He is a nice fourth liner if you are being generous. Fuck, Sikura can at least possess the puck at a better than 30+% rate. What has Sikura done to deserve such a ratfucking?

They aren’t going to fire Jeremy Colliton, but they should. He’s not the coach this team needs, and given their overall performance this year, he’s not the coach this team wants, either.

– The Saad–Strome–DeBrincat line was strong tonight. They dominated possession to the tune of a 61+ CF%. They also played the least of any of the four lines. Goddamn it, can’t you just feel the MINDBRAINS pulsing through your fucking skull? In an elimination game. This fuckin guy.

– We will miss Corey Crawford most of all. We will have tons to say, and it’ll all be a roundabout way of getting at thank you. If this was it, it was a wonderful ride.

– Watching Connor Murphy pull off a spin-o-rama and have an all-around good game was nice. Probably worth more to me than Alexis Lafreniere.

Kirby Dach said hello several times these playoffs. We like what we saw all year. Could stand to shoot more. But we’ll have thoughts on that later.

Adam Boqvist was bad these playoffs. Yeah, he’s barely 20, coached by some guy, and had no reliable backstop to build his puck moving around. And yeah, he went up against an overpowering Vegas team right after two of hockey’s best forwards. But even so, he was totally helpless on defense. Overpowered, outskated, and constantly out of position. You bet your ass we’re putting a lot of that on the clown’s funeral that is this coaching staff. But you get a sense that Boqvist was fundamentally lost out there these playoffs. We didn’t even get a flash of offensive prowess worth writing about. This is our concern dude.

The Hawks would be foolish to give up on him. Still too young, still needs to grow, and any number of excuses. They traded Henri Jokiharju in part because of how much they believed in him. To give up now would be absurd, albeit in Boqvist’s best interest. And yet, you worry.

I think that’s enough of that for now.

Thank you for reading and sticking with us in these unprecedented times. It was fun to have a taste of meaningful hockey, if only for a few weeks and entirely undeserved. We’ll keep doing this shit as long as you all keep reading it, because you’re all alright as a lot.

We’ll probably have some podcasts coming up. Hockey might take a little time off, but we’ll get you your player and coaching reviews. We may have a stray thought or two about the goings on in the bubble. Follow our Sox stuff and our football stuff. And we’ll always be at the forefront of arriving late, drinking all the wine, and throwing up in the misused bidet that is Blackhawks breaking news.

Until then, stay safe and do what you can.

Coranon silaria ozoo mahoke.


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

What a perfect microcosm of the 2019–20 Blackhawks. An early lead generated by (what better be) the New Core followed by 40 minutes of pants shitting, entirely avoidable penalties, and a flat refusal to shoot the puck while trailing. We’d love to know if this is an example of what Bowman called Colliton’s “great approach to things,” because losing to teams directly ahead of his in the wild card standings seems to be his approach. There’s a cheesy gordida crunch waiting for me, so let’s.

– This was the most dominant game Adam Boqvist has played thus far. His first period was astoundingly strong: a primary assist, a 66+ CF%, an 82+ xGF%, two shot attempts, a ton of ice time, and—the cherry on top—two excellent defensive plays. Let’s start there.

About mid-way through the first, the Flames’s fourth line had just finished a strong shift. After a shift change, Jonathan Hockey ended up with the puck behind the net. Boqvist shadowed him from behind the net up around the far boards and never let Gaudreau shake him. In fact, Boqvist nearly caused Jonathan Hockey to cough the puck up. Boqvist is precisely the kind of defenseman the Hawks would need to run Colliton’s man system. He showed quickness and strong positioning on this play.

Not too long after this sequence, Boqvist got to show off his defense again. Following a terrible cross-ice pass attempt by Keith that was easily intercepted, Boqvist picked up Monahan one-on-one and prevented a shot. These are the kinds of things everyone has worried about with Boqvist, and he showed that he can hold his own.

You can safely assume that the good defensive plays were a result of his obvious confidence with the puck tonight. He had two shot attempts early in the first and finished with at least five by my count in addition to one official shot on goal. We got to see that wicked wrister on Kubalik’s tip, which was as powerful as advertised.

Boqvist finished the game with the most TOI, the best CF%, and the best xGF% of Hawks players with more than 10 minutes of ice time at 5v5. A statement game for him if there ever was one.

Corey Crawford would be your second star after Boqvist tonight. He played a big part in the Hawks killing off their second 5-on-3 of the night, with two huge saves to keep it close. You can probably argue that he should have had Lindholm’s second goal, but other than that, it was another good start for the least respected athlete in Chicago sports history. Killing off two 5-on-3s and posting a .929 should get you a win every day. Alas.

– It’s painfully ironic how the Hawks’s PK manages to be pretty good despite the fact that their defense is forbidden by the Geneva Convention. But you can thank Jonathan Toews for the Hawks’s first 5-on-3 kill. After losing a faceoff in his own zone to start it, it was Toews alone who managed to clear the puck from his own zone twice in a row. He may only be able to do one or the other, and tonight he chose defense (though he had a few offensive flashes late), which was a treat.

Dylan Strome has a right ankle injury. No word yet on the severity, but it looked kind of like Saad’s. If he misses any extended time, the Hawks intermittently woeful offensive will be much more consistently awful.

– It’s really confidence inspiring when John Quenneville appears on the power play over Alex Nylander. Not that anyone wants Nylander on the ice at all, but it’s a true testament to the Hawks’s “No Plan, All Process” approach to . . . whatever it is they’re approaching here (a third straight year of no playoffs, most likely).

– Down a goal in the third, the Hawks managed to fart out a measly six shots on goal. Through 11+ minutes, they had exactly two shots. Either this is the Hawks actively trying to get Jeremy Colliton fired or Jeremy Colliton just doing what he does, which is beg to get fired. You can take the tram or you can take the donkey. It’s the same price.

– I’ll stop bitching and moaning about it when the mouthpieces for the Hawks stop doing it: Pat Foley’s unmitigated slobbering over Marc Crawford prior to the third period was gross. I truly like how Marc Crawford has handled himself after being revealed as a gigantic shithead in his past. He apologized, reached out to many of the players he wronged, got therapy long before his shitheadedness became public, and has been contrite about his situation. Having Pat Foley Cheshire grin his way through calling Crawford “a great guy” is so perfectly in tune for this tone-deaf organization, and yet, I can’t help but be surprised by the awfulness. Crawford went out of his way to call his second chance a privilege, and kudos to him for that, but Foley should fucking know better. Righting a ton of huge wrongs doesn’t make you a “great guy.” It just makes you less of a shithead.

But it didn’t stop there. Foley then proceeded to cite Dennis Gilbert (just can’t get away from this fucker, can we?) and Kirby Dach as guys who stated that they love Crawford while completely disregarding the proven and constantly unearthed power gap between players and coaches. They can love Crawford all they want. That doesn’t serve as adequate evidence to support Foley’s “neener neener, he’s actually a great guy” horseshit. It’s getting awfully old. I want Marc Crawford to keep getting better and succeed. I don’t want to hear Pat Foley use his pulpit to try and speed that along just because he doesn’t get it. It’s Foley’s literal job to represent the Blackhawks well, and he did a terrible job of it tonight, much like his bosses that one summer at Notre Dame. I digress.

The Hawks are a mediocre team whose stars can occasionally put them over the top against better teams taking the night off and Detroit. When the chips are down, like they were tonight, they hermit crab. But hey, Bowman thinks Colliton’s approach is great, what with yet another too many men penalty and six fucking shots on goal during crunch time.

Go back to bed, Blackhawks fans. Your Brain Trust has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, Blackhawks fans. Your Brain Trust is in control again.


Beer du Jour: Zombie Dust

Line of the Night: Pat Foley calling Marc Crawford a “great guy,” which embarrassed even Marc Crawford

Everything Else


Game Time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Maybe The Dingo Ate Your Baby: Lighthouse Hockey

It’s been spoken of many times previously on our various stops along the information superhighway, but the long held Boxing Day (and now Day After Boxing Day thanks to the CBA) quasi-tradition of the Hawks playing at home generally tends to be one of the more energetic affairs on West Madison, even dating back to the dark ages of the late 90s (entirely different era). UC denizens are generally stir crazy from a week cooped up with relatives and/or early hungover wakeups to see what Santa brought, so the opportunity to get out of the house and just yell shit at hockey players offers a decent catharsis. However, with Barry Trotz’s visiting Islanders in town, the action on the ice may in fact feel more like a noose tightening around the necks of those present.



RECORDS: Devils 11-19-5   Hawks 15-16-6


TV: NBCSN Chicago


The Hawks will head into the Christmas break, with one more home game, and a chance to build something that looks like momentum with a three-game winning streak, against one of the league’s dumpster-dive-discoveries in the New Jersey Devils. You can’t really ask for much more, which is why it probably feels like the Hawks will fuck this one up with the bus already running. Still, even 75% of usual attention should be enough to get past this outfit at home. You’d think, but silly things have happened against New Jersey the past couple seasons.

Since the last time the Hawks saw them, the Devils have lost five of seven and traded Taylor Hall, so they’re even less interesting than they were before. None of the pieces they got for Hall are on display, and none of them are anywhere close to surefire pieces that will contribute down the line. This is why you don’t hold onto to valuable players when you suck and you know that there’s little chance of them re-signing for your sad sack organization. Hall would have gotten them at least one viable piece at the draft, or at least deadline, but here we are. Know what you are, know your role, people.

So the Devils will focus squarely on what it looking like another top five pick in June to add to Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, neither of which have really popped yet. The Devils will wait around to see if they can get more lottery tickets for Wayne Simmonds or Sami Vatanen at the deadline, and maybe see what’s out there for Kyle Palmieri too who has another year left on his deal. This team needs a lot of things, especially on the blue line and in the crease, and they’re going to need a lot of spins to get them through the draft and prospects.

For now, the Devils do their best to keep things tight to keep it in range of their very limited defense. You may remember these two teams playing a Geneva Convention violation a few weeks ago in Newark, because the Devils were determined to gum things up and the Hawks didn’t even have Boqvist or Keith to force their way through any trap. You can bet on the road it’ll be the same again, probably even more conservative. That’s if the Devils can locate a fuck to give in the last game on the road before three days off. One would think that’s hardly a gimme of a bet.

For the Hawks, it’ll be the same again as Saturday, with Corey Crawford replacing Robin Lehner in net. The win over the Avs was probably their best game of the season, and at least something to try and build off of. The spreading out of the scoring with DeBrincat pairing with Dach started to show some life, as it took a few games for those two to figure out things with each other. Hopefully it grows from here.

There will be a new addition, as John Quenneville is the latest to get a look ahead of Dylan Sikura and not Matthew Highmore for some reason. We can’t also discount that the Hawks might think this is somehow a “revenge” game for Quenneville, as this is his former team for which he barely played. We know that’s how they operate at times. Sikura went from getting a look with Toews and Kublaik–and not looking out of place–to this. Life is cruel. Look for Quenneville to operate with Strome and Nylander for a period and a half before Kelvin starts double-shifting Kane anyway.

No matter how boring the Devils try and keep it, the Hawks should get this one. The schedule the next month isn’t particularly daunting, so if the Hawks have a run in them it’ll be here. But that isn’t going to happen without a win over a team simply aching to give you one right now. So do that, and let’s head off into the holiday not bemoaning our lot in life.


The Rockford IceHogs had themselves a roller-coaster weekend on the road, earning three or four points in the first two games of a three-game Lone Star set. The Blackhawks AHL affiliate let leads slip away in Texas before dropping a 7-6 decision via shootout. The next afternoon, the resilient piglets stormed back from two goals down in the final half of the third period to beat San Antonio in overtime.

Goalie Collin Delia did not play in either affair; he backed up Kevin Lankinen on Saturday, then was a scratch Sunday. After Lankinen let in six goals on 36 Texas shots, he backed up Matt Tomkins against the Rampage.

It was the Hogs AHL signee who posted the standout performance of the weekend for Rockford, keeping the Hogs in contention with 21 saves on 23 shots until the offense got on track late in the contest. In his first action in two weeks, Tomkins won his third game in four starts this season.

Tomkins has allowed two goals or less in each of those three victories. He currently has a 2.48 GAA to go with a .915 save percentage. You can forgive Lankinen for a stinker, considering he’s been excellent in his other five starts this season.

Delia’s goals against average remains at 4.09 after sitting out the weekend. It would seem like Hogs coach Derek King would give Delia the net on Tuesday in the rematch with San Antonio, but time will tell soon enough.


Roster Move

On Wednesday night, it was announced that the Blackhawks had traded Graham Knott, Chicago’s second-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, to Pittsburgh in exchange for veteran forward Joseph Cramarossa. Cramarossa, 27, was on the ice for the Hogs in both games this weekend.

This move was a response to the retirement of Kris Versteeg earlier in the week. In Cramarossa, the Hogs get a physical, veteran who is joining his fifth AHL team in Rockford. The six-foot, 195-pounder has a rugged style that is in short supply on the Hogs roster.

Cramarossa found himself in a scrap behind the Stars net early in Saturday’s game in Texas, then played a key part in Rockford’s first goal against the Rampage. He should be able to make the Hogs a little tougher to play against. Cramarossa kills penalties pretty well, is not a stranger to dropping the gloves, and can chip in offensively on occasion.

The price for this veteran pickup was Knott, which is to say that Chicago bolstered the AHL roster without giving up a piece of said roster. With his entry contract expiring this season, Knott spent the first two months of the season in the ECHL. Knott had five goals and four assists in 13 games with the Indy Fuel but has has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by the Penguins.



The IceHogs (9-7-0-1) own a .589 points percentage, though they are sixth in the Central Division with 19 points. Rockford is 7-2-0-1 over their last ten games and have several games in hand compared to the rest of the division.

Saturday, November 23-Texas 7, Rockford 6 (SO)

Rockford blew a two-goal lead in the second period and rallied to tie the game in the closing minutes. Ultimately, the Hogs came up short in the shootout in a wild affair at Cedar Park.

Alexandre Fortin put Rockford ahead 1-0 with his second goal of the season 6:31 into the game. The Stars scored twice to take the lead on goals by Jason Robertson and Michael Mersch before an unassisted power play marker by Tyler Sikura tied it at two goals at 15:25 of the first period.

John Quenneville’s pair of goals resulted in a 4-2 Rockford advantage by the mid-point of the contest. However, Texas would return fire with power play goals by Joel L’Esperance and Nicolas Caamano. Late in the second, Anton Wedin tipped in a caroming puck for a 5-4 Hogs lead after 40 minutes.

The Rockford lead would turn into a 6-5 deficit after Gavin Bayreuther and Robertson found the back of Kevin Lankinen’s net. It would take a Brandon Hagel put back with 3:24 to play in the game to draw the teams even once more.

The outcome remained up in the air following Gus Macker Time. In the shootout, Robertson and Dylan Sikura traded goals in the second round before L’Esperance beat Lankinen in the fourth. New IceHogs acquisition Joseph Cramarossa was stopped by Texas goalie Landon Bow to give Texas the win.

The Hogs power play found the net on both attempts, though Rockford did give up three power play goals to the Stars.


Sunday, November 24-Rockford 3, San Antonio 2 (OT)

The Rampage scored on their first shot of the afternoon. Ryan Olsen guided a deflected centering pass under IceHogs goalie Matt Tomkins at 3:30 for a 1-0 San Antonio lead. That lead was extended at the close of the first period on a Derek Pouliot goal with five seconds left.

Rockford broke the lock Adam Wilcox had on the net midway through the third period. Joseph Cramarossa found Adam Boqvist skating into the offensive zone. The shot was stopped by the Rampage goalie, but the rebound came out to Boqvist, who skated toward the right post looking for a pass recipient.

Tyler Sikura was in the slot waiting; Boqvist found his stick and Sikura cut the San Antonio lead to 2-1 with ten minutes left to play. Tomkins, who kept Rockford in the game throughout the third period, was brought to the bench in the final minutes for an extra skater.

As the final seconds ran out, Matthew Highmore gained possession of a loose puck off the half boards. Highmore found Dylan Sikura at the right post; Sikura the Younger elevated the puck over the glove of Wilcox to tie the score 2-2 with three seconds left.

Overtime did not last long. Boqvist got the biscuit to Jacob Nilsson at the Hogs blue line. Nilsson did the rest, splitting the defense to spring himself for a breakaway. One backhand later, the Hogs had pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat.

Tomkins played very well between the pipes for Rockford, saving 21 of 23 shots to post his second win of the season. Neither team was able to score on the power play; San Antonio was stopped three times, while the Hogs failed to convert their only opportunity.


This Week

The road trip concludes with another tilt in San Antonio Tuesday night. Rockford then comes back to the BMO Harris Bank Center for post-Thanksgiving clashes with Chicago (Friday) and Grand Rapids (Saturday).

Follow me on twitter @JonFromi for thoughts on the Rockford IceHogs throughout the season.








The Rockford IceHogs head into the weekend looking to build on a two-game winning streak. Rockford is in Cleveland, where the piglets will play a pair with the Monsters.

The Blackhawks made some roster moves this week; here’s a quick look at the activity.

Wednesday, the Blackhawks recalled Dennis Gilbert and assigned newly acquired defenseman Ian McCoshen to Rockford.

McCoshen comes to the Hogs from Florida, who dealt him to Chicago in exchange for forward Aleksi Saarela. Saarela, who had 30 goals for Charlotte last season and is now with his fourth organization in four seasons, picked up his first point of the season with an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Chicago.

The trade accomplishes two things on the AHL level. First, it lessens the bottleneck currently keeping several young forward prospects out of the lineup on a nightly basis. With Kris Versteeg and John Quenneville out for this weekend and Mikael Hakkarainen not back from his opening-night injury, there could be as few as 13 forwards for Derek King to choose from against Cleveland.

The swap also gives the IceHogs another solid defensive option in McCoshen, who has NHL experience. He has good size (6’3″, 218), skates pretty well and is should pair well with more offensive-minded players like Adam Boqvist and Chad Krys.

Kevin Lankinen, who has been out of the lineup following the season opener with an upper body injury, began practicing with the team this week. It’s possible that he’ll see action in Cleveland.


Cleveland Monsters

Cleveland is 3-3-1 to start the season. They are coming off of back-to-back losses to Toronto last weekend after a win in Rochester Friday night. The Monsters won three of the four games in last season’s series with Rockford. Cleveland is 11-3 at Quicken Loans Arena against the IceHogs over the last five seasons. They swept Rockford in Cleveland last October.

Veteran forward Nathan Gerbe (0 G, 6 A) will be a factor at both ends for the Monsters. Former Hogs defenseman Adam Clendening had 37 points for Cleveland in 45 games a season ago and has started 2019-20 with a goal and five helpers.

Zac Dalpe posted a career-high with 33 goals for the Monsters last season. In his eleventh AHL season, Dalpe has three goals and two assists in seven games. Dalpe had four goals against Rockford in 2018-19.

Long-time AHL agitator Stefan Matteau, most recently with the Wolves, has three goals so far this month. Fourth-year pro Justin Scott has five points (2 G, 3 A) for Cleveland.

Rockford will likely see both third-year goalie Matiss Kivlenieks (2.89 GAA, .895 save percentage) and rookie Veini Vehvilainen (3.04, .904) between the pipes.

I’ll be back on Monday to recap the Hogs dealings in Ohio. Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for updates and thoughts on the action this weekend and throughout the season.