Everything Else

Just last night, I was firing off tweets as to the future of Ted Dent, who just finished off his sixth season as the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs. With Mike Kitchen being given his walking papers Monday, I figured Dent, who spent eleven years in the organization, could conceivably be in line to move into a spot on the Blackhawks bench.

Based on the events of today, I would figure that to not be the case. Turns out that Dent’s sixth season as head coach of the Hogs was his last season as head coach of the Hogs.

Hawks GM Stan Bowman gave Dent his walking papers this morning in the latest move of what looks to be a thorough housecleaning. The move surprised me more than it did others; I stated just yesterday that I thought Dent had the players playing hard as the season wound down. I am sticking to that statement based on what I saw down the stretch.

That said, it looks like the writing was on the wall for a move to be made.

I hadn’t heard the tales of troubles in the locker room, though I have no reason to doubt the words of those in the know. Chris Hine of the Tribune cited some venting Dent did via social media and a text to his players that basically cried out “Don’t blame me, I just work here.”

Most of that frustration was from Bowman moving Rockford’s top three scorers at the trade deadline. This came at a time when the Hogs were starting to show some signs of improvement in what long before had become a lost season.

It’s hardly inside knowledge that Chicago management has called the shots in terms of the IceHogs. Rockford employs the same systems as the parent club, which makes sense. Dent has apparently bristled on occasion at the tinkering from above with his lineup card over the years. It seems as if things boiled over and now Dent is looking for another job.

Now, it’s completely understandable that Bowman fire a longtime coach (especially if he wasn’t fan of the rants that coach sent out on twitter) to try and flush out the staleness of an extended tenure. If locker room chemistry is an issue, maybe a change does everyone good.

If you’d like to get some new blood in the mix, now’s the time. With a plethora of new faces ready to begin their pro careers in Rockford, it might be a time for a cool change.

Dent did a more than capable job moving prospects through the system. He had a bit of a reputation around the AHL as a guy who sent players into a game for some extra orneriness, especially when his teams were down. Perhaps his most famous of these moves was sending Kyle Beach to take a center-ice faceoff with the Hogs down 6-3 to Grand Rapids, starting the Pink In The Rink Donnybrook back in 2013.

I always chuckled to myself when fans in my section would complain about Dent’s moves. The gripes should have been aimed up in the press box, at least on the night’s Bowman was in attendance.

As I said just yesterday, I can’t blame Bowman for doing his job and running the organization. One thing about his comments to the Tribune did make me raise an eyebrow:

“I think it’s true that’s a good training ground,” Bowman said. “The American League is also for players to get opportunities to succeed and fail that they might not get at this level. We want to be better there as well. There’s no doubt we’re not happy with the fact our team didn’t make the playoffs. We have to find ways up and down our organization to be better.”

If Bowman’s reasons for letting Dent go lay in not working and playing well with others, I find it hard to register a beef. However, to suggest that Dent’s hitting the bricks because he couldn’t win with the lack of speed and skill at forward that Bowman assembled for him…I respectfully disagree.

This past crop of Hogs was not a playoff team. I suspected this before opening night and it became painfully evident within a few games (yes, even when Rockford was 4-2 the first two weeks). If Bowman wants a playoff contender, fortify those prospects with some proven AHL lamp-lighters this fall.

Regardless of the justification, Dent’s exit raises endless possibilities, both on the Rockford staff as well as which players return for another go at the BMO. There were a lot of question marks after the massive egg the Hogs laid this past season. Today’s move gives the snow globe that is Rockford’s roster another couple of shakes…fer sure.

Does Bowman have Dent’s successor in his back pocket? Are other heads going to be carried out on pikes? Guess we’ll see in the coming weeks. I’ll post next week to mull the future of this year’s roster.

 

 

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs haven’t fared well in overtime this season. This past weekend was a clear example of that deficiency.

The Blackhawks AHL affiliate opened up their return from the All-Star break with a pair of losses. Both came in Gus Macker Time and extended Rockford’s most recent winless streak to seven games.

The IceHogs are currently 0-7 in overtime contests this season. It would be nice to chalk this up to the team’s current offensive woes. Unfortunately, it goes a little further than this year’s schedule.

Rockford has not won an overtime game in the past 13 months.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs dropped both of their games this past weekend, firmly establishing themselves in the basement of the American Hockey League. It has been a frustrating season to say the least over in Winnebago County. That said, I really have to blame myself for what got me so riled up yesterday.

Yes…I visited the IceHogs season ticket holder page on facebook, where folks were casting their ire about what is fast becoming a lost season. The primary target was goaltender Mac Carruth, who gave up four goals in just over 20 minutes of Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids.

I’ve been hinting at writing in depth on Carruth and the goalie situation for a few weeks. Reading the comments, in addition to what I hear in the BMO stands, has officially pushed me over the edge.

I ran into a fellow IceHogs fan at the grocery store Sunday afternoon. We talked about Rockford’s signing of Jeff Glass, a veteran of the KHL, to an AHL contract this past week. One hypothosis formulated by the two of us is the possibility that a goalie in the Hawks organization (likely Scott Darling…sorry) will be leaving via trade.

“So, I guess the Hawks will call up (Lars) Johansson to back up Crow if that happens,” the person offered.

“Maybe,” I said, “but the guy they should call up is Carruth.”

After I picked my fellow fan off the floor, we exchanged good-byes and went on with our respective weekends. Had we enough time to spend discussing hockey in the check-out line, I would have been able to elaborate.

Instead, I have chosen this forum to make my stand. Mac Carruth is not the cause of Rockford’s dismal performance this season. Here are my vociferous responses to the many arrows shot in his direction.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs season is bottoming out in December. The Hawks AHL affiliate set a franchise record Saturday night when they lost for the ninth-straight time. The Hogs last won back on November 19.

I could continue to pile on the state of the club, but I’m sounding like a broken record. Things will pick up. After all, it’s the holiday season, right?

In that spirit, let’s focus on some positives. They’re out there if you’re willing to look…right?

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs reserved their spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs this week. However, Chicago’s AHL affiliate continued to scuffle along as the regular season comes to a conclusion this week.

Rockford dropped three of four on the road this past week. Three points in Charlotte early in the week assured the Hogs of a postseason appearance for the second consecutive season. This team is not giving off the shine of a group that will get out of the first round, though.

It’s hard to expect much from this group the way the latter half of the season has progressed. There are lots of new faces and probably more coming before the regular season ends. There are also a lot of questions for this team to answer in the final week of action.

First and foremost, who starts in net for Ted Dent in the playoffs?

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs have put in a lot of travel miles on the road this season. What’s two thousand more this week?

After dropping two of three games this past week, Rockford is embarking on its last road trip of the regular season. For their sake, I hope their mode of travel will be airplane. This is a frustrated bunch of Hogs. I’d hate to think of Ted Dent threatening to turn the bus around.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate to the Chicago Blackhawks, had some trouble with one of the league’s worst teams when the Manitoba Moose came to town. The Hogs dropped a pair to the antlered ones at home this week before hopping on I-90 East and beating the Wolves.

Despite two defeats, some new faces on defense and a gaffe by coach Ted Dent, Rockford maintains hold of first place in the Central Division standings. They are, however, a little banged up as they continue a five-game road jaunt.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs were atop the AHL’s Central Division going into this weekend’s home and home with the Grand Rapids Griffins. They were coming off an 8-2-1-1 January record and were facing a Griffins team that had dropped five straight. Rockford was recharged following the All-Star break and had the hottest goalie in the league manning the pipes in font of a big home crowd at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

How, then, did that all add up to one of the worst losses in the history of the franchise? Submitted for your approval is a blow-by-blow account of a historic defeat.

(Trust me, readers…you’ll dig this…I think)

Everything Else

It was a rough holiday stretch for the Rockford IceHogs. The Blackhawks AHL affiliate dropped three games this past week.

Goals were hard to come by, with Rockford finding twine just four times in the three losses. Two of those defeats came at the hands of Milwaukee, who supplanted the Hogs at the top of the Central Division. Rockford also dropped its first game to the Iowa Wild in just over a year.

All of a sudden, the IceHogs are on a four-game losing streak as they prepare to enter the new year. In addition, the Hogs lost the services of one of their leading scorers for a few games.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, have struggled on the defensive end to start the 2015-16 season. Coach Ted Dent must have pushed the right buttons at practice prior to this past week’s action. The Hogs were stingier and have won three straight games because of it.

Rockford bested Centrals Division foes Iowa, Chicago and Milwaukee in Week 3 of the AHL schedule. The IceHogs are 4-3, good enough for fourth place in the eight-team division standings.

It was a big week for Rockford. As well as getting back above .500, the IceHogs made a move that should provide the veteran leadership a young team will need this season. It was also a big week for rookie center Tanner Kero.