Hockey

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Game Times: 7:00PM (4/6 & 4/8)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
μολὼν λαβέ: Defending Big D

It’s going to be a common refrain for the next 3 weeks, but once again the Hawks are faced with a series against a direct competitor in the division with an 8 point swing potentially on the table against the Dallas Stars, who still have three games in hand against the West Side Hockey Club.

Everything Else

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Game Time: 7:30PM
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Fireman Ed’s Cousin Gord: Illegal Curve

In what was a tradition unlike any other, the Hawks for seemingly eons played a home game on West Madison on Boxing Day, and even during the Stone Ages the building was more packed than usual. The league in its wisdom has opted to extend the holiday break, pushing the return to action to the 27th, and even giving the Hawks a road game or two in recent years on the date. But tonight will be as close to the Boxing Day games of yore as the league will allow, and the Hawks will be welcoming the Jets to the UC once again already.

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Box Score
Natural Stat Trick

At this point in this era of the Hawks, there are no statement games. Ownership on down has given an organizational mandate on the standard to which this team is to be held, and that’s silver and parades. That being said. with this being the third game in four nights after playing a back and forth affair in West East St. Louis last night, it could have been very easy for the Hawks to kind of pack it in tonight without their 2nd line center, but that didn’t happen.

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pack up the cats vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Jimmy Buffett Sucks: Litter Box Cats

In today’s episode of the family favorite series Not Tone Deaf, the following is presented free of comment:

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The Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, opened their season on the road in a couple of unfamiliar places. The AHL now has five teams playing in California; Rockford visited two of those clubs over the weekend.

It certainly was an up and down opening trip. The Hogs scored a solid 4-2 victory over the San Jose Barracuda before suffering a 7-0 defeat at the hands of the Stockton Heat. Along the way, we saw what could be some running themes with the 2015-16 IceHogs. We were also treated to an unexpected roster move Friday night.

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Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, like a lot of other NHL executives, has delved into college hockey to bolster his organizational depth. Free agent players from the ranks of the NCAA have found some leverage at the high end of the talent pool in recent seasons. So much so that Bowman has found the need to sweeten the pot to get at some of that talent.
Has it paid off? Well, you got to see Kyle Baun Tusday and Thursday nights. I certainly don’t see him in an Indian head sweater come fall, but the former Colgate standout was able to parlay interest from a host of NHL teams into a cup of coffee in the show and a year burned off his two-year entry deal.

Time’s gonna tell on guys like Baun and Tanner Kero (formerly of Michigan Tech) as to whether or not they can someday break into an NHL lineup. However, the ship has likely sailed on a much-heralded player who, at the time of his signing, was seen by some as a potential top-six center.

I’m talking, of course, about Drew LeBlanc. Just so you know…he’s not.

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The Rockford IceHogs seem to be peaking at the perfect time of the season. Winners of eight of their last ten games, the Hogs have assured themselves of the team’s first trip to the AHL postseason in five years.

The IceHogs have avoided lengthy slumps that have doomed past campaigns. The worst stretch of hockey for Rockford came from November 28 to January 19, when the team was 8-9-4-1 in 22 games.

The Hogs tend to jell in the spring and this season has been no exception. What has been the difference is the team’s 15-4-0-1start. With 41 wins this season with seven games to play, the AHL franchise high water mark of 44 victories (set in 80-game seasons in 2007-08 and 2009-10) is certainly within reach.

You can point to a lot of factors that have gotten Rockford to this point. Here are some players who have provided a recent jump in the step of the IceHogs.