Everything Else

It seemed like Tomas Jurco played more than just the 29 games he got, but that’s the number. Maybe it’s because those 29 games were such a slog thanks to the goaltending they felt like 60. That’s not Jurco’s fault. Anyway, Jurco ended up being a pretty effective 4th liner. The question is will it matter in the least going forward.

Tomas Jurco

29 games, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +1, 12 PIM

51.8 CF%, +2.03 CF% rel, 51.9 xGF%, +5.18 xGF% rel

The interesting thing for Jurco is what he’ll mean for how the Hawks will build their roster going forward, but we’ll get to that. Jurco always seemed like a tweener in both Detroit and here. He wasn’t really skilled enough to break your top six, but he wasn’t grind-y, sandpaper-y, fart-y to be on the bottom six for coaches who only saw the game one way. Even if you wanted to do the patented “3+1” model the Hawks have either had or strived for, getting him on the top nine was a real squeeze. We’re talking about a guy who in basically 3+ seasons in the NHL has only managed 22 goals and 50 points. If he were really that skilled, he would be clobbering bottom-six opposition which he was facing. That was most certainly not the case before this year.

But this year something seemingly changed. He looked spikier, there was a little more oomph or punch to his skating and playmaking in the offensive zone. And he wasn’t a disaster in his own by any means. Jurco was also attached to Artem Anisimov his entire stay in Chicago, which you wouldn’t think would accentuate what he does well, and Anisimov was more than competent with him and pretty much a disaster without him (39.8 CF% away from Jurco). Perhaps with a quicker and more skilled set of linemates, Jurco’s abilities could really shine as he does have vision and he does have a sense for the net.

Outlook: Here’s the problem for Jurco. Barring any disasters or trades, the Hawks have a pretty big group of forwards guaranteed spots next year. Toews, Saad, Kane, Schmaltz, DeBrincat, Sikura, Ejdsell, Hinostroza (maybe?). That’s eight right there.  You’d have to think Duclair would have to go way out of his way to not get a spot either. They may be serious in not wanting to trade Anisimov, which is 10. You can totally see them re-signing LOCAL BOY Tommy Wingels again, which is 11, basically leaving one or two spots on the team. And given their fascination with size, John Hayden will once again get every chance to bungle away a spot because he just will, and Highmore and other Rockford flotsam might get looks as well.

But to me, what the Hawks do with Jurco (he’s an RFA) will say a lot about how they’re going to build their team, and if they’re going to change the thinking in doing that. Because if the Hawks are looking around at the Preds, Knights, and Penguins, and one or two others, and just decide they’re going to pack the forward spots with as much speed and skill as they can, Jurco has a place. If the Hawks are going to employ more of a “Get It The Fuck Up The Ice As Quickly As Possible” style that the league will go to more and more, Jurco has a place on the third or fourth line (and Anisimov, Hayden, and Wingels most certainly don’t). He can get you goals against bums on the other teams’ nether regions.

But if the Hawks stick to their third line being a “checking” line and/or the fourth line being the home for wayward children who don’t read good, then Jurco probably doesn’t have a place. He’s not going to be a checker, and he’s certainly not going to be a grinder. Maybe if you squint he can be a homeless man’s Michael Frolik, but Michael Frolik’s are unicorn in nature. And even Frolik was more of a nod to packing your forward corps full of speed and fury. Bolland-Kruger-Frolik is a fourth line you’d see in today’s game. The Hawks were ahead of their time and seemingly have ignored it since.

Jurco won’t be expensive. He’s due a raise of just $80K and will probably clock in at $900K or so. Given the candidates, he seems to provide as much or more than anyone else who could warrant a bottom-six role.

Everything Else

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Corsica

Tonight the Hawks showed up and seemed actually interested in playing hockey. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough, in what was a disappointing follow-up to last night, and a weird reversal of Wednesday night, where they weren’t interested at all yet managed to pull out an overtime win. Well, to the bullets:

–Forsberg made one mistake too many or else he would have had a solid game. Anderson’s goal in the third was one that he should want back, and that’s the one that made the difference. Prior to that goal, Forsberg was screened on the Atkinson’s goal in the first, which wasn’t really his fault. Early in the second he had a sequence of good saves, including on Jordan Oesterle, who tried really hard to score an own goal. But, Forsberg finished the night with a sub-par .897 SV%, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the J-F Berube Show soon enough.

–Our Cousin Vinny had a strong performance—in fact, his entire line did once again, in whatever composition that ended up being throughout the game. Hinostroza had an assist on Kampf’s goal in the first, and he hit the post twice in the second. Granted, his pass to Nachos was intercepted and that’s what turned into Dubois’ tying goal. But he bounced back with more chances in the third, and generally looked like a coked-up gerbil, as we’ve come to expect out of him. Plus he had a 69.6 CF% (NICE).

–Ryan Hartman took an untimely penalty late in the first, which led to Atkinson’s goal, and he was summarily benched for the rest of the game. I get that Q was pissed, and it was definitely irritating at the time, but the punishment was way out of proportion to the crime. It wasn’t even an egregious hook—it could have easily been a non-call, especially since they let Oesterle slide on a way-more-egregious interference on a breakaway (which also could have been called a hook) early in the first. The reasons this overreaction is bullshit are 1) is he really going to become a better player by getting benched after a ticky-tack call? and 2) Hinostroza to Hartman to Kampf resulted in the first goal, and that was minutes into the game. If these guys had more time to work together, maybe we could have scored more than one measly goal following that one.  But no, Q had to SEND A MESSAGE.

–Tomas Jurco got his first goal (anyone? anyone out there want this guy??), and it was off a beautiful feed from Gustafsson way back in the defensive zone. So that was fun.

–Sergei Bobrovsky had a .939 SV% and definitely kept the Jackets in the game, so I don’t want it to sound like I’m taking anything away from him. But damn the Hawks couldn’t hit the net. They ended the night with 33 shots on goal, but it should have easily been 10 higher than that if they could hit the proverbial broad side of a barn.

–Connor Murphy had a somewhat better game than last night. He finished with a 55.2 CF% and didn’t make any dumbass blunders. So that was fun too.

–We managed to out-shit the worst power play in the league. Columbus came into this game ranked dead last on the man advantage, with the Hawks at a sterling 29th. Yet, the Jackets scored on the only power play they had (that aforementioned Hartman penalty), and the Hawks went 0-for-3 with their usual dismal power play performance.

I suppose it’s frustrating that the Hawks couldn’t fuck with the Jackets more and take them out of that last playoff spot, because fuck those guys, that would have been funny. But honestly, the Jackets may do that to themselves, and at this point if we miss out on points, it’s kinda, well, pointless, for lack of a better term. I feel bad for individual guys who genuinely tried but couldn’t pull it out, but at least they made an attempt tonight. Onward.

Beer de jour: Beach Blonde by Crystal Lake Brewing

Line of the Night: This one is dumped in…will there be a retrieval? —Foley, asking what we’re all wondering on a power play zone entry.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs have a few days off to savor a weekend sweep at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The Bago County Flying Piglets are hovering in the second spot in the AHL’s Central Division standings behind Manitoba.

Rockford put the BMO faithful through two nail-biters against Chicago and Grand Rapids, winning both contests behind Jeff Glass in net. Having sneaked down to my basement to prepare this post while my wife peels potatoes (everyone else being asleep), I am short on time before she notices that I am missing. Therefore, here’s the Reader’s Digest version of this post, along with the recaps:

  • Glass is starting virtually all of the games in net for the IceHogs. He did a great job keeping the Hogs in both games despite limited offensive support this weekend.
  • I don’t think they have much confidence in Colin Delia right now. Between Rockford and Indy, Delia has played exactly one game over the last month and a half. Rockford has three games back-to-back this weekend. You’d think Delia would get one of those starts in the interest of letting Glass come up for air.
  • The offense came mostly from the line of Anthony Louis, David Kampf and Tomas Jurco, who are creating a lot of chances.
  • Power play threw up a doughnut hole for the weekend. Coach Jeremy Colliton threw out five forwards on his first unit and three defensemen on his second in an attempt to shake things up. Didn’t work.
  • Erik Gustafsson might be back in action, along with Luc Snuggerud, this coming weekend…but who knows.
  • Hogs have a home-and-home with Iowa Thursday (Des Moines) and Friday (BMO) before visiting Chicago Saturday night.

Uh-oh…creatures are stirring all through our house…Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22-Rockford 3, Chicago 2 (OT)

It took nearly five extra minutes of Gus Macker Time, but the Hogs were able to break a three-game losing streak.

Rockford opened the scoring thanks to an incredible effort by Alexandre Fotin on the first shift of the game. Ville Pokka provided the genesis of the goal by corralling the puck in the corner of the IceHogs zone and sending a clearing pass to Andreas Martinsen.

Fortin received Martinsen’s quick feed coming across his own blueline. He then skated into Chicago territory and split Wolves defenders Chris Castro and Jake Walman. Fighting the two defensemen off as he made his way toward the net, Fortin manuvered around Chicago goalie Max Legace, who had come out to meet the three skaters. From there, Fortin slid the backhand into the unguarded cage to cue the horn and put Rockford ahead 1-0 just 41 seconds in.

The Wolves drew even late in the period while on a delayed penalty with a Brandon Pirri tally. Midway through the second, Chicago took a 2-1 lead after a quick transition burned the Hogs.

A long rebound of a Viktor Svedberg shot attempt came out to Connor Bleakley, who quickly hit teammate Tobias Lindberg coming into neutral ice. Lindberg came down the right side and fired over the glove of Rockford goalie Jeff Glass at 10:45 to put the Wolves on top.

Rockford would capitalize on a couple of rebounds early in the third for the equalizer. Lagace left a puck in front of his crease off a Tomas Jurco shot from the top of the right circle. Anthony Louis was there for the putback, but Lagace was there with the pad save. The third time proved to be the charm, as David Kampf pounced on the rebound at the left post, uniting rubber and twine 39 seconds into the period.

That closed out the scoring in regulation. The game-winner came 4:35 into the extra session. Matthew Highmore was wide on a shot attempt. Darren Raddysh gathered in the puck off of the end boards. He got it back to Highmore, who skated to the goal line below the left circle.

Raddysh, meanwhile, had looped around the offensive zone and streaked to the right post. He got his blade on the centering feed and knocked it just inside the post to end the contest on a winning note.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Alexandre Fortin-Tyler Sikura-Andreas Martinsen

Anthony Louis-David Kampf-Tomas Jurco

Matthew Highmore-Tanner Kero-Luke Johnson (A)

Graham Knott-Laurent Dauphin (A)-William Pelletier

Robin Norell-Ville Pokka (A)

Carl Dahlstrom-Viktor Svedberg

Brandon Anselmini-Darren Raddysh

Jeff Glass

Scratches-Luc Snuggerud, Robin Press, Erik Gustafsson, Matheson Iacopelli, Jordin Tootoo

Power Play (0-3)

Highmore-Kero-Jurco-Kampf-Louis

Dauphin-Johnson-Raddysh-Dalstrom-Pokka

Penalty Kill (Wolves were 0-4)

Sikura-Martinsen-Norell-Pokka

Kampf-Johnson-Svedberg-Dahlstrom

Dauphin-Highmore-Anselmini-Raddsyh

 

Saturday, December 23-Rockford 3, Grand Rapids 2 (SO)

Rockford allowed the Griffins a point with a very late goal in regulation. However, the Hogs prevailed in the shootout to go on holiday with a two-game winning streak.

Neither IceHogs goalie Jeff Glass or Grand Rapids counterpart Jared Coreau surrendered a goal in the first half of this game. The dam broke midway through the second period.

Tomas Jurco and Anthony Louis worked a little give and go once Rockford had gained entry into the Griffins zone. Louis got off a shot from the high slot that trickled under the pads of Coreau. David Kampf was the man on the scene at the right post; he reached behind Coreau and nudged the puck to its resting place in the back of the net. The IceHogs led 1-0 at the 8:01 mark.

The lead proved to be short-lived, as Grand Rapids came down to tie the game on the subsequent shift. Matt Lorito put in a long rebound of Dan Renouf’s point shot at 9:23 of the middle frame.

Jurco broke the tie 5:35 into the third. Making his way to the goal mouth with some deft stick handling, he got the puck into a scrum of players. Louis and Kampf helped things along until the biscuit came out to Jurco. His initial attempt was stopped by Coreau, but Jurco’s second effort drew cord.

That 2-1 lead held up for most, but not all of the final 15 minutes of regulation. Carl Dahlstrom was called for interference after Coreau had been called to the Griffins bench with just 50 seconds left. With a 6-on-4 advantage in the closing seconds, Grand Rapids made a desperate push into the Hogs zone.

The Griffins Ben Street sent a shot toward net the glanced off of Lorito and high into the air. Matthew Ford batted the offering over Glass and into the net with less than two seconds remaining.

Rockford had several breakaway opportunities in Gus Macker Time, but Highmore and Louis were both denied by Coreau. Glass came way out of his net to knock away a potential breakaway attempt, then made a highlight-reel stop on Ford’s open look late in the session…and on to the shootout it went.

Both goalies stonewalled their shooters in the first three rounds. Viktor Svedberg came out in round four and kept it simple, skating to the slot and banging home a slap shot past Coreau’s glove. Glass then snuffed out the attempt of Vili Saarijarvi with his left pad to seal the victory.

Jurco was rightly named the game’s first star, followed by Lorito and Glass, who stopped 31 of 33 shots in addition to the four shootout attempts.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Alexandre Fortin-Tyler Sikura-Andreas Martinsen

Anthony Louis-David Kampf-Tomas Jurco

Matthew Highmore-Tanner Kero-Luke Johnson (A)

Graham Knott-Laurent Dauphin (A)-William Pelletier

Robin Norell-Ville Pokka (A)

Carl Dahlstrom-Darren Raddysh

Viktor Svedberg-Robin Press

Jeff Glass

Scratches-Luc Snuggerud, Erik Gustafsson, Matheson Iacopelli, Brandon Anselmini, Jordin Tootoo

Power Play (0-3)

Highmore-Kero-Jurco-Kampf-Louis

Dauphin-Johnson-Raddysh-Dalstrom-Pokka

Penalty Kill (Wolves were 0-4)

Sikura-Martinsen-Norell-Pokka

Kampf-Johnson-Svedberg-Dahlstrom

Dauphin-Highmore-Press-Raddsyh

 

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for thoughts on the IceHogs all season long.

 

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, used an offensive explosion to sweep Grand Rapids this weekend. The ‘Bago County Piglets have been filling the net, with and without Vinnie Hinostroza.

The IceHogs currently sit behind Manitoba in the division standings with a 15-9-1 record. Rockford has won its last four games heading into this week’s action. If the season would happen to end today, the Hogs are a playoff team. Not that the season shows any signs of stopping, but winning is definitely better than the alternative.

 

Berube Injured

Much of the credit for Rockford’s lofty position in the Central Division standings has to be directed at the goal tending.It’s been a two-man effort in goal so far this year, with J.F. Berube and Jeff Glass both providing solid play. Of late, Glass has been the man for Rockford with Berube up in Chicago before being reassigned this past Friday.

Glass had backstopped the IceHogs last four games before Berube took the BMO Harris Bank Center ice for his first action since coming back down to Rockford. He made it though half the game before some unfortunate luck.

With the Hogs on a second-period power play, Rockford’s Carl Dahlstrom and the Griffins Colin Campbell were chasing down a loose puck that was headed the way of Berube. The IceHogs goalie had just knocked the puck into the corner when the two players passed.

As they came by, Dahlstrom’s left leg swept Berube’s right leg out from under him. Berube’s left leg then buckled beneath him. The Rockford net-minder was attended to by the medical staff and was taken to the locker room. All the while, no weight was put on the injured left leg.

If Berube is to miss any significant time, the pair in Rockford will be what is has been since December 1; Glass and Colin Delia, who has not played in his most recent stint with the team. Its unfortunate that Berube may have gone down with a leg injury. However, the veteran Glass has shown that he is more than capable of shouldering the load in net.

Rockford does have three games this week. None are back-to-back, though. Glass could easily get all three starts for the Hogs. Delia has not played since November 25 with the ECHL’s Indy Fuel. Possibly he gets a start down in Texas to get him some action.

Glass’s numbers have inflated to a 2.89 GAA and a .907 save percentage, but that includes the eight goals Glass gave up November 28 to Manitoba (who have been running roughshod through everyone recently). His last three starts, all IceHogs wins, have been excellent. Excluding that blip when the Moose ran loose at the BMO, Glass is 8-0-1 with a 2.17 GAA and a .929 save percentage in his last nine starts.

The piglets tend to leave their goalies some messes to deal with while pushing the tempo the way they do. Berube and Glass have done a fine job keeping the bulk of Rockford’s mistakes out of its net. Glass may have to go it alone until Berube returns, whenever that may be. Based on his play the last few months, he’s up to the task.

By the way…Matt Tomkins, who is on an AHL deal with Rockford, might be worth keeping an eye on. Tomkins was playing well when he was injured early in his second start for Indy back on October 25. He returned this past weekend and stopped 88 of 91 shots in two starts (both wins) for the Fuel.

 

Roster Moves

The big news out here in Rockford, of course, was Vinnie Hinostroza’s recall to the Blackhawks on Friday. Tanner Kero, having passed safely through waivers, was assigned to the IceHogs on the same day. Kero got his first action with Rockford this season on Saturday, picking up an assist on the Hogs power play goal in a 7-2 victory.

On Sunday, Rockford recalled AHL defenseman Brandon Anselmini, who has a goal and five assists in 11 games with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. This is only my speculation, but it would appear that another Hogs defeseman is banged up. It could possibly be Luc Snuggerud, who sat out Saturday’s game.

 

Picking Up The Scoring Slack

Hinostroza’s departure leaves a potential void in the Rockford offense. This weekend was a chance for the Hogs to respond to concerns for replacing Hinostroza’s scoring punch. They did so with 11 goals in the two games with Grand Rapids.

Of course, Kero is likely to pick up some of the workload for Rockford. He has shown a goal-scoring knack in both his previous seasons with the Hogs. He had an apple in his first game back with Rockford Saturday.

Tomas Jurco (9 G, 9 A) had two goals and an assist this weekend and is currently riding a four-game goal streak. Jurco’s 85 shots on goal lead the club; he definitely has the puck skills to carry Rockford for a stretch.

Hinostroza is an excellent distributor of the puck and that will be sorely missed. The player I see filling that role is David Kampf. The rookie from the Czech Republic broke an eight-game scoreless streak in a big way this weekend, with a helper Friday and a goal and two assists Saturday.

Even through the eight-game drought, Kampf has been active both with and without the puck. He is centering Anthony Louis and Jurco at the moment. This would be an opportune stretch for him to start impacting the game on the scoreboard.

Also posting a three-point weekend was Matheson Iacopelli, whose strong shot is starting to see some time on the IceHogs power play. Louis, who has earned time in the top six, has a three game point streak going.

Andreas Martinsen had goals in each of the weekend wins and has three in his last four games. Martinsen has four goals and five assists on the season; as I’ve mentioned before in my posts, he is one of a few IceHogs skaters who can bring the physical element on a nightly basis.

Martinsen forced a turnover in the corner Saturday that resulted in an IceHogs goal. The big Norwegian has been getting to the net and showed some skill in a key goal against Grand Rapids Friday night.

Stepping up on the defensive side is Carl Dahlstrom, who has eight points in his last four games. Dahlstrom was especially effective Saturday, pinching in for his first goal since Halloween and adding a pair of assists.

 

Where’s TooToo?

Veteran forward Jordin Tootoo was assigned to Rockford back on November 30. He hasn’t appeared in a game for Rockford. The way things sound, it doesn’t look that that will happen for a while.

After Saturday’s game, Chris Block of thethirdmanin.com asked IceHogs coach Jeremy Colliton about Tootoo. Here was the coach’s response, per the team website:

Right now, he hasn’t played in a long time. He hasn’t skated in a long time. (We’re) trying to get him back up to speed. We’ll see…I don’t know. We don’t have a timeline.

 

Pushing A Broom: Four Points From The Griffins

Friday, December 8-Rockford 4, Grand Rapids 1

The IceHogs won their third straight game and remained undefeated against Grand Rapids this season thanks to timely scoring and great play in net by Jeff Glass.

The Griffins went up 1-0 at the 12:45 mark on a power play goal by Matt Puempel. Rockford evened the game just over three minutes later.

Carl Dahlstrom got the scoring play started from his own end, sending a pass to David Kampf along the left boards on the Grand Rapids side of the red line. Kampf hit Tomas Jurco coming into the Griffins zone. Splitting the defense, Jurco skated to the top of the left circle and fired to the short side. The puck beat Grand Rapids goalie Jared Coreau at 15:38 for the equalizer.

Rockford picked up its second goal of the contest near the end of the middle frame. It came via the nimble stick of Andreas Martinsen, who picked up a loose puck along the left half boards and skated into the Grand Rapids zone.

Flipping the biscuit past Griffins defenseman Robbie Russo, Martinsen regained possession, skated to the bottom of the left circle and sent a shot high over Coreau’s right shoulder and into cage at 17:20. The IceHogs went into the second intermission up 2-1.

Jeff Glass proved to be the difference for Rockford, making 33 stops on the night, including a spectacular denial of a 2-on-1 Griffins rush late in the second. His play in the third period kept a desperate Grand Rapids squad at bay until some insurance could be had.

That insurance came from Robin Norell, who took a feed from Anthony Louis at the top of the left circle and slapped one toward the Griffins net. The shot glanced off the stick of Colin Campbell and got by Coreau for a 3-1 Hogs advantage with just 1:39 left in the game. Luke Johnson added an empty netter in the final minute to complete the scoring.

Glass was rightfully tabbed the game’s first star, followed by Martinsen and Puempel.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Anthony Louis-David Kampf-Tomas Jurco

Alexandrea Fortin-Matthew Highmore-Luke Johnson

Matheson Iacopelli-Tyler Sikura-Andreas Martinsen (A)

Graham Knott-Laurent Dauphin-William Pelletier

Carl Dahlstrom-Viktor Svedberg

Luc Snuggerud-Ville Pokka

Darren Raddysh-Robin Norell

Jeff Glass

Scratches-Tanner Kero, Robin Press, Erik Gustafsson, Jordin Tootoo

Power Play (0-1)

Highmore-Louis-Johnson-Raddysh-Pokka

Kampf-Jurco-Fortin-Iacopelli-Snuggerud

Pentalty Kill (Griffins were 1-4)

Knott-Dauphin-Svedberg-Dahlstrom

Sikura-Martinsen-Smuggerud-Pokka

Highmore-Johnson-Raddysh-Norell

 

Saturday, December 9-Rockford 7, Grand Rapids 2

The Hogs returned to the BMO and delivered a whipping to Grand Rapids, winning for the fourth straight game.

Rockford struck first at 6:41 of the opening frame. Carl Dahlstrom took a cross-ice pass from Matheson Iacopelli and skated to the bottom of the left circle. His centering pass caught the skate of Andreas Martinsen and banked into the Griffins net.

The IceHogs took full control of the contest in the second period with a pair of goals. The first occurred shortly after Rockford had shut down a Grand Rapids four-on-three power play. Laurent Dauphin received a pass from Ville Pokka as he entered the Griffins zone.

Tomas Jurco skated into the slot to take Dauphin’s offering to the crease. Deking goalie Tom McCollom, Jurco backhanded the puck into happy land at the 6:01 mark for a 2-0 Rockford lead.

About four minutes later, Viktor Svedberg hit Graham Knott with an entry pass. Knott skated into the high slot before finding Darren Raddysh with all kinds of room coming down the right side of the slot. A quick pass afforded Raddysh the scoring chance and he buried it at 9:58 to put the Hogs up 3-0.

Midway through the period, J.F. Berube got tangled up with Dahlstrom and the Griffins Colin Campbell and went down favoring his left knee. The medical staff was brought out and the injured goalie was helped from the ice. Jeff Glass took over for the remainder of the game.

Rockford was able to double its three-goal advantage in the first 3:18 of the final period. Matthew Highmore carried David Kampf’s feed to the bottom of the left circle and burned McCollom 1:19 into the third. Dahlstrom banged home a power play slapper from the point at 2:03.

Shortly thereafter, Martinsen forced a turnover in the corner of the Grand Rapids zone. Tyler Sikura gained control of the puck and centered to Matheson Iacopelli in front of the cage. The shot was high to McCollom’s stick side; he never had a chance.

Up 6-0, Rockford surrendered a pair of Griffins goals before closing out the scoring via a David Kampf backhander from the slot. The primary assist on the play came from the stick of Anthony Louis.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Matthew Highmore-Tanner Kero-Luke Johnson (A)

Anthony Louis-David Kampf-Tomas Jurco

Matheson Iacopelli-Tyler Sikura-Andreas Martinsen

Graham Knott-Laurent Dauphin (A)-William Pelletier

Robin Norell-Ville Pokka (A)

Viktor Svedberg-Darren Raddysh

Carl Dahlstrom-Robin Press

Jean Francois Berube

Jeff Glass

Scratches-Luc Snuggerud, Erik Gustafsson, Jordin Tootoo, Alexandre Fortin

Power Play (1-5)

Iacopelli-Kampf-Jurco-Kero-Dahlstrom

Louis-Highmore-Johnson-Raddysh-Pokka

Penalty Kill (Grand Rapids was 0-6)

Dauphin-Highmore-Dahlstrom-Norell

Knott-Johnson-Svedberg-Pokka

Sikura-Martinsen-Press-Raddysh

 

What Lies Ahead-A Look At The San Antonio Rampage

Rockford hosts Chicago Tuesday night. The IceHogs hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series; both those wins came at the BMO. The Wolves are coming off a Micheal Leighton shutout of Cleveland Saturday night but still are in the Central Division basement with a 7-12-4-1 mark.

Following that game, the IceHogs travel to the Lone Star State for a pair of games with the San Antonio Rampage. Rockford has Friday and Sunday dates with Colorado’s AHL affiliate.

San Antonio spanked the piglets 6-0 at the BMO November 10. The Rampage drew cord on their first three power play opportunities and wound up with four tallies with the man advantage.

A parade to the Rockford penalty box was a big part of that loss. On the other hand, goalie Spencer Martin stopped 39 shots to blank the Hogs. Ville Husso faced the Hogs three times last season when he was with the Wolves. Husso won two of those matchups, but is currently up with St. Louis, who has been loaning him to the Rampage.

Another pair of former Wolves lead the Rampage (13-10-2, fourth in the AHL’s Pacific Division) in scoring. Forward Andrew Agozzino is a familiar face to Hogs fans, having played in Lake Erie as well as Chicago. In his second stint with San Antonio, Agozzino has 19 points (7 G, 12 A). He is currently on a nine-game goal drought. Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, another former Wolves skater, also has 19 points (5 G, 14 A) and is a plus-ten on the campaign.

Rocco Grimaldi is smallish forward who can really light it up; he had 31 goals for the Rampage a year ago. He started slow this fall but recorded a hat trick this weekend against Bakersfield. Rookie center Tage Thompson has seven goals and seven assists for San Antonio, but just one assist in his last five games.

Another offensive force is former Milwaukee Admiral Vladislav Kamenev, who had three apples in the Rampage win over Rockford November 10. He hasn’t been in the San Antonio lineup since mid-November, however. He was recalled by the Avs and injured in his first game with Colorado.

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for thoughts on the IceHogs all season long.

 

 

 

 

 

Live From The Five Hole

As we were recording, there were actual trades going on in the NHL, and Cieslak was somewhere over the Atlantic, as he is being extradited to The Hague for his various war crimes. Sam has escaped from the maw of the Internet Monster to actually be able to engage in the conversation. Of course, by the time this posts, half of what we discussed could be irrelevant, but isn’t that always the case anyway? And the title is interpreted at the reader’s discretion. Audio after the jump.

Everything Else

 vs 

Game Time: 6:30PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN, WGN-AM 720
Dexter Fowler’s Biggest Fans: SLGT

Now that the Mike Yeo era began a little quicker in West East St. Louis than most outside of this outlet anticipated, the Blues still find themselves at a crossroads organizationally. This is still basically the same group that Ken Hitchcock couldn’t do anything with, and now that the Blues have fired their fourth of the four winningest coaches of all time, they’re left wondering if it’s at all worth going through another one-and done playoff visit, being essentially locked into their current playoff position. And of course that mean bringing their usual brand of bullshit into the UC tonight.