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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rockford IceHogs at Chicago Wolves - Win Recap

"Can I Play with Madness"

Every time I write one of these Ice Hogs recaps, I think to myself, "Self? I hope I'm far too busy writing Blackhawks recaps the next time a Hogs/Wolves game rolls around to be able to partake". Of course each time, I've been wrong. I have got nothing against the AHL, the Rockford Ice Hogs, or the Chicago Wolves (well, unless you factor in that they are the baby Canucks), but recapping games that feature sand bagging baby Blackhawks in small arenas, in STANDARD DEFINITION are not what I signed up for. I'm a snob and I make no bones about it. I want NHL hockey in High Definition. That is just how I roll, ladies and gents. Of course I'm interested in what happens in Rockford with the prospects, but Chris Block does a much beter job than I, at covering the Hogs. Thanks to the colossal failure that all NHL fans are in the middle of, I'm stuck keeping myself busy by recapping late November minor league hockey. Look at me go!

The Ice Hogs didn't start out so hot, to say the least. They gave up a terrible goal just over a minute into the game, which put them in a rough situation. They seemed to bounce back fairly well, and went into the intermission down only one. That is about the best they could have hoped for, especially outshooting the home team 15-11. The Wolves rebounded in the second, outshooting the Hogs 18-10, but the teams tied the period with a goal each way and the Wolves had a chance to bury them, but the fortunes turned. The third period was all Hogs, with some help from flurry of stupid Wolves penalties. Rockford pulled off a comeback and left with a huge win.

The Good
  • After a rough first two minutes, the Hogs ended up peppering Matt Climie with 15 first period shots. At least the boneheaded play didn't get them down.
  • The Hogs cut the Wolves lead on a late second period 3-on-2. Brandon Saad hit the third man in, St. Pierre, who was left with a gaping net and didn't miss.
  • Jeremy Morin and the Hogs took advantage of a powerplay and some lively board, to tie the game up five minutes into the third period. A wide shot by Clendening ricocheted right back out in front of the net. Saad fought to get possession and blindly shoveled it in front to an open Morin, who chipped it past Climie on the short side.
  • Ben Smith redirected a Brett Lebda slapshot just a couple of minutes after the game tying goal, to give the Hogs their first lead of the game. A pretty simple play, as Smith was left wide open. I'm not sure I agree with the Wolves approach on that defensive strategy, but the Hogs will take it.
  • Shaw closed out the Wolves night by picking off a blue line pass attempt and getting the empty netter to give the Ice Hogs a 4-2 win. Looks like his time off due to suspension has paid off. He was a plus 1, with a goal, 2 PIMS, and a team leading 6 shots on net.
  • Brandon Saad continued his improved play with 2 points, and a plus one on the night.
The Bad
  • Jeremy Morin looks to be getting a little full of himself. He tried to stickhandle through about 3 Wolves defenders as his teammates went for a change. Of course, he turned it over at the Hogs blue line and it ended up a quality Wolves scoring chance. Just plain stupid.
  • Andrew Shaw led a 3-on-1 just over halfway through the first period, which was turned into a 1-on-1 when Kevin Connauton cut off the passing lanes and the Hogs forwards felt it was best to hold hands and hug, rather than spread the ice. Shaw was left with only one choice; shoot. Climie nicely beat him with the glove.
  • A late second period Paradis boarding penalty ended up leading to a Jordan Schroeder Wolves powerplay goal, when Shaw, Leblanc and Lalonde got happy pants and tried to run a shorthanded odd man break. The Wolves took advantage of a covering forward and Leblanc was caught out of position. Schroeder was left all alone on the back door and Hutton had no chance. It was scored just after the penalty expired, but it was virtually a powerplay goal.
  • The Hogs blew a huge 5-on-3 powerplay at te end of the second and into the third period. I probably counted 4 shots the entire advantage, which is completely unacceptable. Baby Blackhawks they are.
The Ugly
  • Not much more than a minute into the game and the Hogs are picking the puck out of their own net. Clendening and Saad treated the puck like a rotten egg, and it squirted off a board scrum and into the middle of the Hogs slot, where Zack Kassian was standing by himself. Stop me if you know how this one ends. 1-0 Wolves.
  • It's pretty clear that Carter Hutton is pretty fucking bad at handling the puck. The first period was a Shanghai Shitfest, when it comes to the Hogs defensive puckhandling, Hutton included. His stickhandling prowess did't get any better as the game went on.
  • Kyle Beach took the worst of a scuffle with Zack Kassian, when he voluntarily put himself into a headlock. Really, enough with the theatrics, gents.
  • Sam Fels and Chris Block weren't lying when they brought up the parade of penalties that the Hogs take. They continuously shoot themselves in the foot with needless infractions. Believe it or not, as bad as the Hogs were, the Wolves were even worse.
Here are the lines for the IceHogs, last night:

Kyle Beach-Brandon Pirri-Andrew Shaw
Ben Smith-Jimmy Hayes-Leblanc
Jeremy Morin-Martin St.Pierre-Brandon Saad
Philippe Paradis-Rob Flick-Brandon Bollig
Klas Dahlbeck-Ryan Stanton
Adam Clendening-Nick Leddy
Brett Lebda-Shawn Lalonde

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rockford IceHogs vs. Chicago Wolves - Loss Recap

"Makin Bacon"

On the same day the NHL announced the cancelation of the the Winter Classic, the Ice Hogs hosted the Chicago Wolves, which meant Chicago area fans were able to take advantage and see some of the baby Hawks play on TV. Good for us, but bad for the Hogs.

The Ice Hogs showed they truly are the baby Blackhawks, by starting off VERY slow. Evn though they outshot the Wolves 15-10, they were down 2-1 going into the first intermission after some very lackadaisical defense. The second period was just more of the same for the Hogs. Three goals on a total of 10 shots still left the Hogs down by 2 goals with 20 minutes to go in the game. There was no big third period comeback in their one. Even though they were able to put 11 shots on net, the Hogs were outscored 2-1 for a third straight period, and sent the Wolves away with a 6-3 win.

The Good
  • I know there were issues with Bill Sweatt and the Hawks organization, but damn it would be nice to have him wearing a Hogs Jersey. The guy is SO fast that he looks like Stalberg. He turned Brett Lebda around like a top, late in the first.
  • Just when you think Kyle Beach was a useless sack of skin and bones, he snaps off a laser of a wrist shot to tie the game at 1-1. Flick picked up the faceoff and chipped it over to Paradis. Paradis dropped it back to Beach, who was camping out high in the slot. Beach didn't exactly break and speed records getting the shot off, but he beat Lack to the stick side with an accurate shot. It's about time Beach did something constructive.
  • The powerplay unit of Kruger, St. Pierre, Smith, Lavin and Pirri brought the Hogs back within two goals, late in the second period. Lucky Pierre and Smith worked a little game of catch until Kruger was able to create a little room for himself. St. Pierre hit Kruger for a one timer that was blocked by Smith, but the puck squirted out to Pirri. Pirri just turned and fired it into the net past Lack.
  • Somehow the Hogs centers dominated in faceoffs. I say somehow because they have been so bad lately that Chris Block has reported that Kruger, and Pirri weren't even lining up for their own faceoffs.
  • Kyle Beach snapped off another wrist shot that found it's way through Lack for his second goal of the night, with 4 minutes to go in the game. The goal brought the Hogs within 2 goals, but that's all they could muster up.
The Bad
  • A Joe Lavin miscue a the Wolves blue line led to a couple of great Wolves chances and eventually the puck in the back of the Wolves net. Lavin tried to make a rush all by himself, had his chip pass blocked, and then dropped his stick. From then on out it was time for the Shanghai Scramble. Eventually, a pass was slickly slid under Lavin and to a streaking Andrew Gordon, who beat Hutton for a 1-0 Wolves lead.
  • Lavin's bad first period didn't stop with the goal. He was repeatedly caught out of position and gave the Wolves scoring chances.
  • Jeremy Morin really has some snarl to his game. He took quite a few exceptions to some chippiness, which will land him in te ox more than Quenneville would like
  • The Hogs powerplay breakout looks exactly like the anemic Hawks powerplay. Four players skate to the blur line and drop it to the trailer, who then has to try and maneuver through 8 players. It doesn't take a scientist to put the brakes on that one.
  • Beach's hug-a-thon with Kevin Connauton was a snorefest. Probably the easiest 5 minutes either of those guys ever earned.
  • Two goals on 4 shots in the second frame was just unacceptable.
  • The Hogs got caught about halfway through the third with a forward (Pirri) covering on defense, and the Wolves took full advantage. Chris Tanev was the lucky recipient of what turned out to be a 2-on-0, and Richard had no chance.
  • Hawks for a second Andrew Ebbet was left completely uncovered with just over 2 minutes to go in the game, and he put the little piggies to bed.
The Ugly
  • Brett Sterling raced up the middle of the ice on a late first period powerplay and through 4 Hogs players. When all was said and done the Hogs were all staring each other in the face with mouths agape. Sidney Crosby shouldn't walk through 4 players, much less Brett Fucking Sterling. Of course Joe Lavin was the last player to get his hands on Sterling before the puck went in the net. Brutal.
  • The Wolves Jordan Schroeder and Tim Miller completely clowned the Hogs shorthanded unit, that was killing a Bollig delay of game penalty early in the second. Miller squirted past Clendening who completely whiffed on a half ass hit attempt, and then slid a pass through Olsens legs to a wide open Schroeder. Schroeder was able to snap of a shot and beat Hutton stick side for a 3-1 Wolves lead.
  • Another stupid Brandon Bollig penalty led to a Wolves powerplay and eventually a Bill Sweatt powerplay goal. Peter Andersson was left wide open in the slot, and Jordan Schroeder hit him on the tape with a nice pass. Andersson's shot was stopped by Hutton, but Lavin couldn't tie up Sweatt, who just swept it in the net. That was the end of the nights action for poor Carter Hutton. In came the next sacrificial lamb, Alec Richard.
  • The needless penalties are just mind numbing with this team.
  • The Hogs goalies were not on their game for this tilt. Six goals on 25 shots won't get you a win in many leagues.
Here are the lines for the IceHogs, last night:

Ben Smith-Brandon Pirri-Jeremy Morin
Brandon Bollig-Marcus Kruger-Andrew Shaw
Peter Leblanc-Martin St.Pierre-Jimmy Hayes
Philippe Paradis-Rob Flick-Kyle Beach
Klas Dahlbeck-Ryan Stanton
Adam Clendening-Dylan Olsen
Brett Lebda-Joe Lavin

And yes, we even have some video highlights for you:

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