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:

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