Call of the Wild

Inside hockey Archives

Gallery 82 - Shoot Out Loss for IceHogs

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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Netting the Game Winning Goal for the Texas Stars in a Shoot Out was Mathieu Tousignant.

It was Trick or Treat Night at the Metro Centre on Wednesday night and the Texas Stars went home with the WIN in their candy bag. The IceHogs lost to the Stars in a Shoot Out after nine rounds, 4-3. Even though the game contained no fights nor scrums, it certainly did not lack for action. Referee Ian Croft appeared to let the teams just play the game, calling a total of seven infractions for the entire night.

After the game the IceHogs players sat at tables set up on the ice and children were able to go around the tables to each player Trick or Treating. The kids were treated to a large assortment of items donated by area corporate sponsors. The players appeared to really enjoy interacting with the kids as they passed out the treats.

 

Gallery sneak peek (40 images):

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Gallery 81 - IceHogs Beat Wolves in OT 4-3

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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Igor Makarov was named #1 Star of the Game for scoring the game winning goal in OT.

It was an exciting time at the Metro Centre in Rockford last night during the game between the Rockford IceHogs and the Chicago Wolves. While it thundered and lightninged outside, there seemed to be a storm raging inside too. Within the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game there was 1 goal scored and 2 fights. The final score for the night was the IceHogs winning in OT 4-3. Referee Shaun Davis handed out a total penalty minutes of 43 for 13 infraction to Rockford and 37 for 14 infraction to Chicago.

 

Gallery sneak peek (37 images):

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Gallery 80 - IceHogs Melted by the Heat

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

 

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The Rockford IceHogs lost last night to the Abbotsford Heat, 4-1. One bright spot of the night was seeing former IceHog Matt Keith, who is now playing with the Heat.

Blackhawks' prospect, Jeremy Morin, appeared to receive a injury to his right leg late in the 3rd frame and needed help getting off the ice.

 

Gallery sneak peek (28 images):

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Chad Denny- A fresh start !

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

IMG_6781.jpgSeveral years ago while attending the Red Wings Traverse City Rookie Tournament  the Atlanta Thrashers rookie lineup featured a 17 year old with a deadly wrister and wicked check, Chad Denny. After impressing at the tournament  Denny finished his Major Juniors in Lewiston Maine and signed with the Thrashers when he became eligible at age 19.  

For three years Denny seemed to struggle in the Thrashers system and never lived up to the promise that was so evident at that opening tourney. In his third and final year of his contract Denny spent most of the year in Georgia with the Wolves AA affiliate the Gwinnett Gladiators. However this morning good news came to Call of the Wild, Denny has a fresh start !


This summer we had followed him from the Philadelphia Flyer camp, no luck there then the word that Denny is with the Utah Grizzlies, the ECHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. 

http://www.echl.com/stats/roster.php?team_id=23  


Good luck and good hunting to Denny in the clear mountain air.

Gallery 76 - IceHogs lose to Admirals 3-2

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

 

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In goal for the Rockford IceHogs was Alec Richards on Friday night October 1, 2010.

The Milwaukee Admirals handed the Rockford IceHogs a pre-season Shoot Out loss this past Friday night, October 1st, in Rockford. Photos in the gallery are from that game.

 

Gallery sneak peek (38 images):

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Gallery 75 - IceHogs Top Rivermen in Pre-Season Shoot Out

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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Netminder, Danny Battochio, appears to be a big fan of The Dark Knight's. Battochio replaced IceHogs' Joe Palmer in goal with 8 minutes left in the 2nd period.

The IceHogs played their first pre-season game on Tuesday in Rockford against the Peoria Rivermen, defeating the Rivermen in a Shoot Out 5-4.

In looking over the rosters, not many players at this point in time are very familiar. With a lot of players still recalled to the Chicago Blackhawks, it's still uncertain how many of last season's IceHogs players will remain with the Blackhawks and who will be assigned to Rockford. IceHogs' Training Camp just opened this past Sunday September 25th, while the Blackhawks Camp opened on September 18th.  

IceHog Zack Torquato introduced himself to the fans in a big way during the game. He scored two goals during regulation play and then scored an additional goal during the Shoot Out. The 21 year old Ontario native signed a AHL contract with the IceHogs this past July. This will be his first professional season. Welcome to Rock Vegas Zack!

The next pre-season game is scheduled for Friday October 1st at 7:05pm at the Metro Centre in Rockford against the Milwaukee Admirals. The IceHogs open their season at home on October 9th. They have planned a Fan Fest for prior to the game to help kick off the season.

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Battochio reacts to the puck flying by.

 

Gallery sneak peek (25 images):

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The Chicago Express rolls into Hoffman Estates

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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The Chicago Express' primary logo was unveiled today in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Premier AA Hockey is coming back to the Chicago land area. The newest team to be added to the East Coast Hockey League held a Press Conference today at the Sears Centre. They announced that the new team's name will be the Chicago Express and it's first Head Coach will be Steve Martinson. The Express will call the Sears Centre Arena, located in Hoffman Estates, their home. The team will begin their inaugural season at the start of the 2011/2012 hockey season.  

The team is owned by C & S Family Sports. C & S Family Sports is in turn, Craig and Sue Drecktrah. The Drecktrahs are no strangers to minor league hockey as Craig was part owner of the Rockford IceHogs for several years, back when that team was in the United Hockey League. The Drecktrahs also took over ownership mid season of the already financially troubled Chicago Hounds, during what was the last season for both the Hounds and the UHL. The UHL changed it's name to the International Hockey League and the Hounds ceased operations after the 2006/2007 season ended.  

This summer, fans had the chance to submit team name suggestions to the team's website. Fans voted on-line for their favorite choices and the top four names were placed for a final vote. Marc Johnson of Bartlett, IL was the lucky fan who had submitted the name of Chicago Express. For his winning submission, Johnson was presented today with a 4 pack of Season Tickets to the 2011/2012 inaugural season for the Express. The other three names and their submitters were: Hoffman Hammers, Jeff Latzko; Chicago Blizzard, Mike Kuecker; and the Chicago Knights, Chris Bond. It was also announced that Johnson will be dropping the puck at the very first home game the Express plays at the Sears Centre.

The Team's colors will consist of navy blue, sky blue & grey and the primary logo is that of a train. The secondary logo is a train whistle. Chicago has a history with the railroad and the manufacture of train cars and the team name was chosen in tribute to this long history.

Coach Martinson comes to the team with 15 years of Coaching experience. His teams have always made the postseason playoffs and he has won 6 championships. Prior to becoming a Coach, Martinson the player, skated professionally for 12 seasons with an assortment of teams in the National and American Hockey Leagues. Martinson and his family have moved back into their home in Rockford, IL and voice their excitement at being back in the state line area. He states that his kids are playing hockey in Rockford already.

C & S Family Sports offers affordable family-friendly excitement for hockey fans of all ages. The Chicago Express is currently offering season ticket packages for sale.

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Newly named Head Coach for the Chicago Express, Steve Martinson.

 

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Owner & CEO of the Chicago Express, Craig Drecktrah.

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Present & General Manager for the Chicago Express, Wade Welsh.

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On hand for the Chicago Express unveiling was Hoffman Estates Mayor, Bill McLeod and ECHL Commisioner, Brian McKenna.

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Craig Drecktrah presents Marc Johnson with a 4 pack of Season Tickets for the upcoming 2011/2012 opening season for the Chicago Express. Johnson submitted the winning name for the new hockey team.

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Chris Chelios Retires, To take front Office Position With Detroit

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The rumors have been flying for a week, finally it is reportable Chris Chelios has announced his retirement from the on ice play.He is not taking it easy however, he has accepted a front office position with the Detroit Red Wings. His title and responsibilities have not been announced.

Good luck Chris Chelios, in this new challenge.You will be missed in Chicago.
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Chris Chelios skates with the Chicago Wolves Monday October 12, 2009. His first day in a Wolves uniform. File Photo Credit= Jane Rickard




Ex IceHog-Wolf Sean McMorrow signs with Dundee Stars Of British Elite League

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

TORONTO - DECEMBER 11:  Sean McMorrow #23 of the Rochester Americans skates against the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on December 11, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Rochester won 3-1.  (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)   

Several well placed sources have have reported to Call of the Wild that Sean McMorrow will be returning to the British Elites for the 2010-2011 season.  McMorrow has accepted an offer from the Dundee Stars of Scotland, details of the contract have not been revealed.  


As previously reported in Call of the Wild (McMorrow Indictment) last spring while playing for the Belfast Giants McMorrow was indicted on drug trafficking charges in Western New York.  No court date or plea has been announced. According to McMorrow his" present status is no restrictions no conditions".  He is free to make his living and work where he his life as a professional hockey player takes him.


During his hockey career in contrast to his tough guy image on the ice McMorrow has left his mark with children's charities in the cities he has lived in. When in Belfast last season among other works he founded a in-line skating school for the youth of the city. To help encourage physical fitness and nutrition for fitness. He was also regarded by many as one of the players to do more to encourage interest and development in youth hockey.


Welcome to Scotland Sean McMorrow, your the new sheriff in town, give them a good show.

Update: Dan Bertram, former Blackhawks Prospect

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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Dan Bertram, right wing.

It was announced on July 16, 2010 that right winger Dan Bertram of Canada, has signed a try-out-contract with the Red Bull Salzburg hockey team. He will attend the Red Bulls' pre-season training camp in Austria and will start training on the ice July 26Th with the rest of the team.

Bertram, 23, disappeared from the hockey world suddenly at the beginning of the 2009/10 season after being assigned to the Toledo Walleyes by the Rockford IceHogs. The Walleyes are the ECHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Apparently Bertram requested and was granted an early release from his contract with the Blackhawks.

The 2005 NHL Entry Draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks', 2ND round 54Th overall, played for Boston College 2004-2008 and helped lead his team to the 2008 NCAA Mens Division 1 Hockey Championship. He was a Co-Assistant Captain for the team during his senior year of college.

His entry into the world of pro-hockey was a memorable one, as during the Blackhawks' Red & White Event pre-season 2008, he broke his lower jaw after being struck in the mouth by a puck. Despite his small size, 5'10" 185#, he often went toe to toe during fights with opponents much bigger than him. He played with both grit and moxy, not backing down to anyone. Bertram played a total of 56 games with the IceHogs and 5 games with the now defunct ECHL Fresno Falcons during the 2008/09 season.

We wish Dan all the best as he continues to pursue his career in pro-hockey.

Here are a few images of Bertram, taken while he played for the IceHogs during the 2008/09 season.

 

Gallery sneak peek (23 images):

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Bob Probert Former Blackhawk dead at 45

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

CHICAGO - MAY 24:  Former Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings player Bob Probert waves to the fans prior to dropping the puck for the cermonial face off during Game Four of the Western Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings on May 24, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)





































As reported in the Windsor Star, Robert Probert was out fishing on Lake St Clair near Ottawa.  Shortly after 2:00 PM he collapsed and was brought to into Windsor Memorial Hospital emergency room , efforts to revive the former NHL great were unsuccessful.  The Probert family will have a news conference at Windsor Regional Hospital today at 6:00 pm to issue a statement.

In Blogged reports credited to the Toronto Sun, Probert was on the boat at 2:00 pm experienced severe chest pains, CPR was attempted and was unsuccessful by emergency crews upon arrival at shore.  He was then transported to Windsor Regional Hospital for definitive treatment.


Bob Probert had a troubled hockey career  a classic enforcer he he scored 163 goals and assisted in 221 more all the while spending 3,300 minutes in the penalty box.  In later years with the Red Wings he was suspended after a drug trafficking arrest. Probert retired from the game in 2002. 


Rob Probert dying at age 45 leaves a wife and twin boys.

The Revolving Door, Comings and Goings in the Wolves Locker Room.

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

So far this summer the Wolves have lost some key players and gained at least one question mark.  At this point in the season when asked what I think my usual answer is that it is far to early to see the big picture. This is Don Levers first team, let the man work, gather his newbies and vets then we can start to second guess the man. 


Goings:


Brett Sterling - The Badger has packed his bag and gone to the Pittsburg Penguins, best of luck to him. Sterling deserves a shot at the NHL and I hope he finds it there.


Nathan Oystrick- Became Ducks property during the season, however finished the season in Chicago with the team.  The Ducks bought out his contract and he is a free agent, we might just see him in a Wolves uniform again.


Joey Crab- First gone in the trade that landed Akim Aliu in a Wolves uniform, now has inked a contract in Toronto with the Maple Leafs.


Noah Welch- Has resigned with Atlanta.


Atlanta has tenured offers to the following players- Brian Little, Ondrej Pavelec, Peter Mannino, Anthony Stewart. Mannino and Stewart might be seen in Chicago again.


Atlanta has not offered contracts to the following- Chad Denny, Ryan Kaip, Scot Lehman, Matt Sidall.


Comings:


Atlanta Named Craig Ramsey as Head Coach, replacing John Anderson.


Patrice Cromier- Has his day in court this month in Canada, he will be able to plan is future after his legal problems are dealt with.  No one denies this young mans talent, it is his ability to control his temper and respect for the game that are in question.


Akin Aliu- A part of the Joey Crab trade, look to see him spend his time between Chicago and the farm team. He will either blossom and be the find of the year or be an albatross around the Wolves neck.





Old Wolves and Other Players of interest


Al Montoya- The  Chicago native has signed a one year deal with the Phenix Coyotes.  The goalie lost most of last year to an injury, second chances are a good thing.


Derrick Mackenzie- The past Captain has signed on with the Columbus Bluejackets for two years, hope you like Syracuse Derrick.


Kurtis Foster-The big man has signed  2 year contract with the Edmonton Oilers.  


Braydon Colburn- The young man who who needed a map to find his position in Chicago then  blossomed with the Flyers has signed a two year contract extension.


Bret Kahn-Loaned to the Wolves a year ago, in the Calder Cup finals with the Texas Stars  this year.  Krahn signed a one year contract with the Dallas Stars.


Stay tuned campers, as the signings happen we at Call of The Wild will keep you informed, snark is no charge.







So long, Farewell...Akim Aliu

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Blackhawks recently made a final decision as to the future of winger Akim Aliu with their club. On June 16th, 2010 the Blackhawks announced that Aliu was included in a multi-player trade with the Atlanta Thrashers. Blackhawks players Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu were traded to Atlanta in return for Jeremy Morin, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and a first & second round 2010 NHL Entry Draft selections.

Aliu's hockey career can be described as nothing short of colorful to date, as trouble seemed to follow him where ever he went. The 2007 NHL Entry Draft selection by the Blackhawks, round 2 (#56 overall), was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs at the beginning of the season in 2009, after having spent the last 5 years playing in the OHL where in amassed over 400 PIM's. During 2009/2010 season he played in 48 games for the IceHogs before being sent down to the ECHL Toledo Walleyes on March 4th to finish the season.

We wish Aliu all the best as he heads to Atlanta.

Here are a few images of Aliu taken over the past 2 years...

 

Gallery sneak peek (15 images):

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NHL Competition Committee Makes Recommendation For Head Shot Penalty

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The sea of change may at last be upon hockey. On Friday last the National Hockey League's Competition Committee recommended that referees be given the power to assess major penalties for hits to the head.  Their recommendation will be passed on the league's Board of Governors for final approval at meetings in Los Angles next week. 


In it's present form the rule change would mean a 5 minute major and a game misconduct.  The league would also leave the door open for further discipline upon review.  Earlier this year in March the league and the players association came to loggerheads over a previous wording of the rule change which would have gone into effect for the remainder of the 09'-10' season.  After letting it go through the NHL Players Association Competition Committee the wrinkles were removed and  the blindsided hits to the head will now be on forbidden list.


The Competition Committee also signed off on form fitting goalie wear.


Does this mean goalies will not be wearing pants so full they look like they have spent the last 6 months climbing the Stair Master? 


Also inked was the approval for next years Heritage Classic, the outdoor game that has become so popular among fans. The game will be between Montreal and Calgary. This will also require the Players Union's Executive board 's approval.


As well received as the news of a slimmed down goalies derriere is for the female fan, the headline event of the Los Angles meeting will be the signing of the head shot rule. 


We can put the best helmets possible on players, mandate mouth guards.  Improve glass as it needs replacing but ultimately much of the answer to head injuries and their prevention is the the players themselves.  Respect of the game and each other.  Paul Elvström  master Norwegian sailor and teacher taught so many of us the essence of sportsmanship and character in any game.  His philosophy was simple "You haven't won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors." 


With the formalization of the head shot rule in the rule book, perhaps it's time to take some  Elvström on to the ice.

Groan for the Day

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

I was sitting in line at my Credit Union drive-thru this afternoon waiting for my transaction to be completed, when I overheard the man in the car next to me call out to the Teller inside...

"How 'bout them Blackhawks!".

Cool, I thought another fellow hockey fan nearby. But, with his next statement, he dashed that thought away when he then asked the Teller...

"Did they win last night?".

Where's the eye roll icon when I need it?

Roadwatch - Game 5 Blackhawks vs Fliers

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

Close friends and complete strangers in the Rockford area have been gathering together every other night since May 29, 2010 at local Sports Bars to cheer for the Chicago Blackhawks as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. The majority of the fans can be seen wearing their favorite hockey sweaters and t-shirts supporting the Blackhawks. As time has gone on, the strangers have become familiar faces to each other within the crowded bar area of the Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant & Bar located on Hwy 173. Faithful fans start gathering as early as 2 hours prior to game time just to get the prime seating in the bar area. Friendships have been forged between the wait staff and the fans there for the games.

The Blackhawks came through on Sunday night, winning 7-4 and now lead the series 3-2. Of all the frequent cheers heard tonight during the game, the loudest cheering occurred when Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien layed out Flyers' Chris Pronger with a hard hit. Game 6 will be held on June 9th and yes, we will be watching it on the big screens together with our fellow fans at Buffalo Wild Wings. If you're in the area, stop by and join us. 

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Fans react with loud cheers and high fives to Brent Seabrook scoring the first goal for the Blackhawks on Sunday night.

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Cheers sound out after Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg scored a goal.

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A prank was played on a frequent customer by one of the friendly wait staff at Buffalo Wild WIngs.

Live update: Wolves 4 Texas Stars 2

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

 It's been wild and wooly and the boys have so far been holding their tempers-so far. Not to be over dramatic but tonight somebody goes home and somebody starts packing for Hamilton. It always comes down to the same thing in game seven, 60 minutes of hockey, stay out of the penalty box.


Here's a taste of the game.

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Gallery 34 - Blackhawks' Antti Niemi - Part 2

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

 

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Taken 3/28/10 at the United Center.

The "Finnish Fortress", as he's affectionately called by his fans, Chicago Blackhawks netminder Antti Niemi, is featured in his 2nd gallery for this blog. 

The majority of the photos were taken last season while Niemi played for the Rockford IceHogs.

 

Gallery sneak peek (25 images):

View the gallery...

Atlanta not reconsidering affiliation with Chicago Wolves; new GM won't comment on coaching short list

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Rick Dudley, the new Atlanta Thrashers General Manager, told a news conference this afternoon that there were no plans to reconsider the Thrashers' affiliations with the Gwinnett Gladiators or the Chicago Wolves. Dudley would not comment on whether Chicago Wolves Head Coach Don Lever or former Atlanta Thrashers Assistant Coach Randy Cunneyworth were on a short list to replace former Head Coach John Anderson.

Anderson and his assistants, including Cunneyworth, were terminated this morning. Dudley said Anderson had an option but did not exercise it. The news conference was held by telephone.

Anderson had run into problems on the bench, notching a second losing season with the Thrashers. Recent  comments by players about Anderson started to appear in Atlanta blogs. Dudley said the team had problems coming off streaks of five game losses, which accounted for it not making the playoffs. He held Anderson responsible.

Dudley was coy about his choice of a new coach, "I'll spend some time with any candidate to determine what we need," Dudley said.

"I'm not going to commit to (looking at Lever or Cunneyworth). Randy was an assistant coach here and he's a guy I have a great deal of affection for. Donny Lever has done a magnificent job of turning around the Chicago Wolves. But, I'm not going to get into who is on the list," Dudley said.

"The technical side of things will be very important. You'll have to be more than a one trick pony. You'll have to be able to adjust to what the opponents throw at you. Second you have to be able to teach our young players. We have to nurture to expedite the process," Dudley said.

Thrashers fire Anderson, coaching staff; Waddell promoted to president

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Washington Capitals v Atlanta Thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers have terminated the coaching contract of John Anderson and his assistants Randy Cunneyworth, Todd Nelson and Steve Weeks, a statement from the Thrashers this morning said. General Manager Don Waddell has been promoted to President and Rick Dudley has been promoted to the position of General Manager, the statement says.

"My role within the company has evolved and grown the last few years," Waddell said in the statement, "The owners and I agree that it's the appropriate time to have Rick assume all hockey-related responsibilities while I shift my primary focus to the business side of the Thrashers."

Dudley joined the Thrashers in June 2009 after five years with the Chicago Blackhawks in the capacity of Assistant General Manager.

Anderson, the former Head Coach of the Chicago Wolves, leaves Atlanta with a record of 70-75-19 over two seasons. Anderson coached the Chicago Wolves to four league championships, twice in the International Hockey League and twice in the American Hockey League. Anderson also coached the Quad City Mallards to a Colonial Cup championship in the Colonial Hockey League. Anderson posted a regular season record of 51-20-0-3 (70.9 percent) in the Colonial League, 200-98-0-30 (70.12 percent) in the IHL, 306-185-24-45 (60.80 percent) in the AHL and 40-75-0-19 (48.48 percent) in the NHL. Anderson has played in 37 NHL playoff games, notably with the Toronto Maple Leaves and the Hartford Whalers.

Cunneyworth was the former Head Coach of the Rochester Americans. In the period 2000 - 2008 he compiled a record of 258-214-39-40 (53.13 percent) in the regular season. Cunneyworth played for the Stanley Cup three times on the Buffalo Sabres.

Nelson was the former Head Coach of the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League from 2003 - 2006 when he was hired by the Chicago Wolves as assistant coach. At the UHL he won two Colonial Cup championships and compiled a regular season record of 149-58-0-25 (69.61 percent).

Steve Weeks played 15 seasons in the NHL as a goalie. He played for the Silver Medal Canadian team in the 1985 World Championships.

The Thrashers are planning a news conference at 12:30 Central Time to introduce General Manager Dudley.

Abbotsford Heat Coach Jim Playfair fined for temper tantrum

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Jimmy Playfair, Head Coach of the Abbotsford Heat, earned a fine for a tantrum started by a call by Referee Jamie Koharski Saturday night. Playfair expressed his feelings after a call by Referee Koharski by breaking sticks and throwing his jacket .  These actions have earned him a fine, not a suspension as had been reported earlier this morning by News 1130 Radio. Dave Sheldon Director of Communication for  the Abbotsford Heat told ChicagoNow "Jim Playfair was fined an unspecified amount, he will be available to be behind the bench tonight." 


The UTube of the event has gone viral with reportedly over half a million hits. Here is the full clip, the action starts at 2:30 mark.




Continue reading...

At Last!-Board of Governors approves hit to head rule!

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The Board of governors have acted, change will come slowly but surely.  Here is the report from the NHL.com.


"Board of Governors approves hit to head rule"

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 7:00 PM / News

NHL.com


"The National Hockey League's Board of Governors tonight unanimously approved a rule prohibiting "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact."


The timing and details of implementation are being worked on by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department in conjunction with representatives of the National Hockey League Players' Association."


  Bet Reggie Fleming is smiling this morning.


IceHogs' Charity Bowl-a-thon

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

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IceHogs newest netminder, Hannu Toivonen, joined in the fun this past Sunday. Photo credit: Kelly Manke.

IceHogs fans gathered at the Cherry Bowl in Rockford on this past Sunday for a afternoon of fun with their favorite players while helping the team raise money for charity. The entire IceHogs team including players and staff were on hand for three games of nine pin no-tap. Proceeds received from the fans for entry fees and raffle tickets for door prizes were given then to help start up a Huntington's Disease Clinic here in Rockford at the University of Illinois School of Medicine. A grand total of $7,450 was raised, this also included a donation of $1000 from the IceHogs Booster Club.

Previously, people within the Rockford area had to seek medical help for this condition outside the area.

HD is a disease that affects IceHogs' Captain Jake Dowell personally. Both his father and brother are afflicted with it. HD is a neurological disorder that is passed down from generation to generation within families. Certain nerve cells in the brain degenerate, or waste away. There is no cure for HD and no known way to stop the disease from progressing. Persons with this disease usually die within 15-20 years.

Nearly $600,000 has been raised by the IceHogs Charitable Foundation for local not-for-profit schools and organizations since it's start in 1999. The next fundraiser for the Foundation is the Jersey auction to be held on March 27, 2010 at the MetroCentre.

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IceHogs Booster Club Treasurer, Kelly Cummings, is seen presenting a check from the Booster Club to Dr Mitch King. Dr King is an associate dean of accademic affairs for the College of Medicine. Photo credit: Kelly Manke.

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All 32 lanes at the Cherry Bowl were filled to capacity with players, staff and fans at the event last Sunday. Photo credit: Kelly Manke.

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David Phillips appeared to be having a fun time. Photo credit: Kelly Manke.

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Brian Connelly shows off his bowling form as he releases the ball. Photo credit: Kelly Manke.

 

Chris Chelios is so old...

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

You may have heard of the "Chris Chelios is so old..." web site. A tip of the hat to NHLSnipers.com for their list of Chelios jokes.

Here are three of our favorites, go to NHLSnipers to see more.

*Chris Chelios is so old .....the Zamboni at his childhood rink was steam powered.(SkinnyFishbowl)


*Chris Chelios is so old ....... a "Chris Chelios Hat Trick" involves eating solid food, making it to the bathroom in time, and remembering your name.(commieninja)


*Chris Chelios is so old .... he would appreciate it if you got off his lawn.(DHSpeedwagon)


Sean McMorrow, Ex-Wolf/ Ex-IceHog Indicted on Drug Charges

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Sean McMorow who was signed but never dressed for the Chicago Wolves during the 2006-07 season, has been accused of bringing 100 kilos of marijuana into the United States from Canada  by the United States Attorney for Western New York in a two-count indictment handed down March 2nd. The investigation into the alleged trafficking started in 2005 and involved alleged activity from 2003- 2005 during his tenure with the Rochester Americans.


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San McMorrow in a vintage moment against a Peoria Riverman, Photo Credit : Kris Gray





























McMorrow is remembered locally as the enforcer for the Rockford IceHogs during the 2008-09' season. Throughout his American Hockey League career McMorrow was hailed for his work with childrens charities.  Currently he is playing in Northern Ireland with the Belfast Giants of the British Elite League.


In Belfast he has become popularly known as "Sherif McMorrow" and has opened an inline skating school since his arrival this fall. He has continued his work with childrens charities in Belfast focusing on nutrition and fitness. He was often noted by the Belfast press.  McMorrow has not responded to requests for comment by ChicagoNow's Call of the Wild.



John Anderson banner raising at Chicago Wolves game February 20, 2010

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

These are the ceremonies of John Anderson receiving his banner from the Chicago Wolves, Saturday, February 20, 2010, at the Allstate Arena.

Part 1

Part 2

18-0? Here's an Odd Suggestion, How About some Sportsmanship?

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Yesterday the Canadian Women's hockey team trounced the Slovakian woman's team in their Olympic debut 18-0, a new Olympic record.  This is bad enough but before we get out the cry towels for the poor Slovaks it would be a good time to remember that this is the team that ran up the score to 82-0 in 2008 against Bulgaria's women in a qualifier for this Olympics.


This morning writers and pundits of the sport are calling for mercy rules.  How about a simpler idea, before we delve into the rule book why not have a bit of respect for the game and your opponent .  Don't run up the score after the game is simply past them, there is no need for a 82-0 score to ever be posted.  18-0  please, that game probably was in hand at 6-0, just run out the clock and let the loser leave the arena with their dignity intact.

Chris Chelios arrest video; All he wanted was to get home safe

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Thanks to Jim Davis at the Daily Herald you can now view the police encounter with Chicago Wolves blue liner Chris Chelios. Chelios was arrested on his way to his parent's home December 28.

In the recording Chelios is asked how much he had to drink and is made to take a roadside sobriety test.


Continue reading...

Ok to OK; Oklahoma City to get AHL Oilers franchise next season

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

The American Hockey League announced it would be expanding into Oklahoma City next season. The new franchise will be affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers.
The expansion into the Oklahoma City area follows the collapse of the Oklahoma City Blazers at the end of last season, a team in the low AA Central Hockey League.  The Associated Press says the new team will be owned by Prodigal Hockey, LLC and will play at the Cox Convention Center. Prodigal is led by former Blazers owner Bob Funk, Jr.
The Blazers drew good crowds prior to folding, with Wikipedia noting regular crowds of 8,000.  "The Blazers consistently ranked in the top 10 in attendance" among minor hockey league teams the AP reports. The AP says last season the Blazers averaged 6,508 fans in 32 home games.
According to NewsOK, a site run by The Oklahoman newspaper, the Oilers signed a five year affiliation agreement with Prodigal Hockey. The Oilers are using a dormant franchise, according to the report, to open the Oklahoma team. The Springfield Falcons lost their affiliation with the Oilers in the deal.
The expansion will probably create an eight team league in the West Division, the division in which the Rockford IceHogs and the Chicago Wolves compete. The team is the 30th team in the AHL, meaning the minor league may reach its goal of having a development team for each team in the NHL.
The Blazers had terminated their negotiations with Oklahoma City in June after the city council approved a letter of intent to attract the AHL to the Cox Center, according to a NewsOK report last summer.

Former Wolves Captain MacKenzie on trade list?

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Former Chicago Wolves Captain Derek MacKenzie is listed as trade bait by Patrick Williams, a blogger with The Hockey News. Williams figures the Crunch could easily fall out of contention for post-season play and then MacKenzie would be a "dependable two-way center" for an AHL club on the way to the Calder Cup.

MacKenzie is leading the Crunch with 34 points.

But, if we're talking about players who can help a team win a Calder, why talk about MacKenzie? If you were a GM wouldn't you rather talk to Darren Haydar? Haydar's team, the Lake Erie Monsters, is a huge waste of space for one of the most talented skaters in the AAA. Haydar has 43 points.

Atlanta Changes Paths and Patrice Cormier is Part of the Package

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Now it's getting personal, as reported yesterday in Call Of the Wild, Atlanta Thrashers, parent club of the Chicago Wolves, have been unable to reach agreement with Ilya Kocalchuck. General Manager Don Waddell in his statement to the press said " Now we have to turn the page", turn the page, indeed.  In response to Kocalchuck nixing a reported $101 million dollar package Waddell has crafted a deal with the New Jersey Devils for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cromier and a 2010 first round draft pick.


It is 19 year old Patrice Cromier that has a history worthy of note. On January 25th of this year the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League suspended Cormier for 20 games, ending his season.  The suspension was for an on ice elbowing incident on January 17th that left Mikael Tam of the Quebec Ramparts unconscious and convulsing on the ice . Tam was in hospital for two days and has not returned to play.

Patrice Cormier's response to the QMJHL's decision ? " I respect the decision of the QMJHL even if I find it too severe. I deeply regret the circumstances surroundings this event and I wish Mikael Tam a speedy and full recovery."  On Tuesday Cormier's team the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies announced that they would be filling an appeal of the suspension.

Caution both clips contain graphic material.

The first clip is of the January 17th incident. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgwCaxEB6-Y


This clip is of an incident in December involving an elbow to a Swede.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hzeOhL8_9g


In seasons past with blooming of spring flowers we have seen 19 year old prospects fresh from the Major Juniors filling out the ranks of the Wolves to get a chance to strut their stuff for Atlanta.  Players like Artus Kulda, Bryan Little and Angelo Esposito, will we see Patrice Cromier join this years spring bouquet ? Or will he be the Wolves nettle?

"We tried everything we can"

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Ilya Kovalchuk is gone. The Atlanta Thrashers announced today that negotiations with the star had broken down after the team claims Kovalchuk turned down a $101 million 12 year deal. Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell said in a news conference Thursday night. "Unfortunately we couldn't reach a deal. Now we have to turn the page."

Atlanta Thrashers v New Jersey Devils

The breakdown of months of negotiations led to trading Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela in a "rent a star" deal with the New Jersey Devils that will bring the Thrashers Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cromier and a 2010 first round draft pick.

"We want you, our fans, to know that throughout the negotiation process, the Thrashers organization remained committed to offering Ilya a contract that exceeded those of the league's best and highest paid players," Waddell wrote. "If we had met Kovy' ultimate demand, we would have jeopardized our ability to build a competitive team around him," the statement said.

Phil Foley of the examiner.com blogs said the deal came together starting Sunday, as Waddell scouted the Los Angeles Kings v New jersey Devils game. At the time, Foley reports, the Devils weren't interested in Kovalchuk. But Devils GM Lou Lamoriello entered the bidding Monday and quickly outbid the Kings.

The deal fell into place, according to Foley when the Devils agreed to include Cormier. Cormier, 19, captain of the Canadian 2010 World Junior silver medal team, was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) following a hit that the league described as "dangerous and intolerable." It was his second notable suspension.

The discussion is that Waddell will try to place Cormier with the Chicago Wolves this season. Waddell said the Thrashers hoped to play Cormier next season, "we look forward to having Patrice join us in the near future," Waddell said in a statement. Waddell told NHL On the Fly that the Thrashers would look at moving Cormier after his junior team was eliminated from the playoffs. A late night e-mail to the American Hockey League to ask if the league will honor the QMJHL suspension has not yet been answered.

The trade comes about a week before the February 12th Olympics trade freeze. The final NHL games before the winter Olympics start happen on February 14th. The NHL will not play during the Olympics. A small trade window will open in March 1-3, after the close of the Olympics.

2009 Memorial Cup - Rimouski Oceanic v Drummondville Voltigeurs

The AHL is not taking a break for the Olympics.

In action last night against the Abbotsford Heat in Abbotsford, BC, the Wolves won 3-2. The game winning goal was scored by Matt Anderson with just 98 seconds remaining on the clock. The win put the Wolves just one point out of second place in the West Division, two points out of first place with games in hand on two of the teams ahead of them.

The Wolves play the Heat in Abbotsford again tonight, game time is 9:30 Central, with a Comcast carrying the game and the game broadcast over Internet radio and Internet PPV. A win could put the team in a tie for first place in the division.

Kari Lehtonen returns to Chicago Wolves; Wolves lose 5-4 to Peoria Rivermen

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Where was the old Kari Lehtonen? The man defending the Atlanta iron is just not the same, letting in soft shots and "funny" bounces.
Kari Lehtonen in goal

Kari Lehtonen defends the Wolves goal in an earlier conditioning assignment. Credit: Jane Rickard


The Wolves dropped a game to the Peoria Rivermen 5-4 at the Carver Arena. Chris Chelios wasn't on the ice.

That seems to be a crucial factor in Wolves losses. When Chelios doesn't play the team is 1-3. When Chelios does play, the team is 22-10-1.

I'd have to describe the blue line in front of Lehtonen as historically light. Both at the Wolves and later in Atlanta, Lehtonen has been the factor that kept his team in the game. He would face forty or fifty shots in a game. That's unacceptable, but Lehtonen survived.

Last night, Lehtonen stopped 32 shots. Facing 37 shots isn't acceptable. It shows weakness in the blue line. Facing 37 or more shots on goal has only happened to the Wolves ten times this season, ten of 44 games. Since Lever has been behind the bench this has only happened six times, six of 38 games.

When the team faces that many shots, its overall record is 3-6-1 while its record under Lever is 2-3-1. In other words, keeping the shot off the net is critical to a win. At least part of the reason the Wolves lost by one goal has to be laid at the feet of the blue line.

Karila, The Epic of Kari Lehtonen refreshed my memory, softened last night by a large glass of good stuff, of what had happened. The first goal Lehtonen let in was the "funny" bounce, a shot from the RED line along the left boards by Bryce Lampman. Two other goals bothered me, the Cracknell goal.

Chris Porter took a shot from the point, Adam Cracknell, standing outside the paint put some wood on it and deflected it in. Granted, this is a tough shot to stop, Porter's cannon shot was already moving and Lehtonen had to judge the deflection.

The other shot that bothered me was the Drazenovic goal. Nicholas Drazenovic took a shot from the slot that deflected in off of Lehtonen's own stick.

Lehtonen is assigned to the Wolves for two weeks. Peter Mannino is expected to start in goal in a game this afternoon against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Karila has a summary of Lehtonen's injury history.


Guest Post: Hershey scoring at a record pace

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

For the people of Hershey, Pennsylvania the Hershey Bears, ten-time winner of the AHL Calder Cup, approach the status of a religion. Dan Sernoffsky, a staff writer at the Lebanon Daily News covers the Hershey Bears. The Bears, back from the All-Star break extended their home winning streak to 13 with a win over the Manitoba Moose Friday night.

Dan shared his thoughts on the Bears season with his readers before the All-Star break: 


It wasn't necessarily the way they wanted to go into the AHL's All-Star break - another 7-2 or 10-4 win would have been nice - but the Hershey Bears can at least take a couple of days off to rest, regroup, and to think about what they'd like to accomplish in the second half of the season.

To be sure, the season is "officially" half over. Every team but one, Binghamton, has played 40 or more of the 80 games on the 2009-10 schedule, but the All-Star break does provide a nice dividing point. For the Bears, it's also provides a pretty good comparison.

So far this season, the Bears have set a franchise record for consecutive wins and the mark for consecutive home wins. What they can now set their sights on is setting another franchise record, the one for most goals in a season. But any record, noted coach Mark French, is impressive, given the history and tradition of the franchise.

"All the records are great," said French after Sunday's win established the mark for consecutive wins at home. "They're a nice tribute to the guys and the stretch of hockey where we've played very well. Again, we feel very humbled, which you do any time you accomplish something with this storied franchise."

Including Sunday's game, the Bears have scored 173 goals this season, far and away the most in the league. Since they're averaging nearly four goals per game so far this season, that projects to another 100-plus goals in the final 37 games of the season. Another 100 goals would give


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them 373 for the season, 12 more than the existing mark of 361 goals scored by the 1988-89 team.

This season's Bears seem poised to challenge that mark. The 1988-89 season saw eight players, led by Brian Dobbin's 43 goals, score 20 or more goals, and four more players score 10 or more. So far, both Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux have reached 20 goals for the season, and Andrew Gordon is just a goal away from joining them.

Five other players have scored at least 10 goals thus far, and two more are within three goals of joining them in double figures.

If the Bears do reach 300 goals, it will mark the second time in four seasons that they will have achieved the milestone. The 2006-07 team, which lost to Hamilton in the Calder Cup finals, finished with 305 goals, the first time the Bears reached 300 goals since the 1995-96 season, when they scored 301.

The number of goals scored in a season, however, doesn't necessarily translate into postseason success. In fact, since the new millennium began, the only team to score 300 goals in the regular season and win the Calder Cup was the Chicago Wolves in the 2007-08 season.

Actually, there have been just six 300-goal seasons since the 2000-01 season - Chicago in 2007-08; Chicago (331), Hershey (305) and Norfolk (301) in 2006-07; and Grand Rapids (323) and Portland (306) in 2005-06. Oddly, Binghamton's 276 goals in 2004-05 - the NHL lockout season - were the most that season despite the influx of NHL players into the league.

The league record for goals in a season is 392, set by Binghamton in the 1992-93 season, the year in which Binghamton also set the league record for victories with 57. Binghamton lost in the semifinals of the Calder Cup playoffs.

The league record for goals is probably out of reach for the Bears, but with 32 wins at the break, it is possible that the Bears could wind up challenging the record for wins. The Bears need 25 victories in 37 games to tie the mark. Considering the way they played through the first half of the season, it is a record within reach.

But while there's no question that the Bears wouldn't mind adding a few more lines to the record book before the regular season ends, it's also a safe bet that the record the Bears would most like to put in the book is a continuation of the record they set last season for Calder Cup championships.

Ten is nice but 11 would be even better.

Peoria Rivermen return for third time this month

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

The Chicago Wolves end their two game trip to Texas having moved to fourth place, four points out of first place with a game in hand, from sixth place and eight points out of first place, with two games in hand.


Led by a string of five wins, four over divisional opponents, the team is rolling into the league's All-Star break on a wave. The game, Sunday, against the Peoria Rivermen will be the third game this month against Peoria. As discussed in our review earlier in the week of the Rivermen under Rick Wamsley, in general the team is struggling to find its feet.


The exception is the power play. Overall the Rivermen are putting 22.7 percent of advantages in, second in the league. When the team is adjusted for its five games of experience under Wamsley, however, the power play climbs to 47.6 percent, which leads the league.


The Rivermen's have struggled to put it together since Wamsley replaced Davis Payne, winning two games, and neither of them against divisional foes, they also won a point in a shoot out loss to the Wolves.


Since the game against the Rivermen, a week ago, the Blues have added Derek Armstrong on a conditioning assignment, Yan Stastny and Sebastion Dahm.


The Wolves are likely to be tired on Sunday. This will be the fourth game played since Wednesday morning. The situation isn't much better for the Rivermen, who have been bused around Lake Michigan, having played the Milwaukee Admirals on the tenth in Peoria, the Grand Rapids Griffins in Grand Rapids on the 15th and the Rockford IceHogs in Peoria tonight.


Have I ever written how useless I think the AHL All-Star game is? I probably haven't. The game, taking place somewhere, else features one Chicago Wolves player: Brett Sterling. But that's not why I don't like this bloodless and useless exhibition. YAWN!


Good luck to all the All-Stars.

Three coaches, one division

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

The blog will not be looking deeply at the San Antonio Rampage, though the Chicago Wolves defeated them in a close 5-3 win last night and play them again tonight. The SAR are one of three AHL teams to have new coaches this season.

The Peoria Rivermen changed coaches when their parent club, the St. Louis Blues, terminated the Head Coaches contract there. That brought Rick Wamsley to the Rivermen earlier this month.

Greg Ireland received the axe in San Antonio in November as a Thanksgiving week present. Ireland, the former coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, was replaced by Ray Edwards.

While in Chicago, the Wolves relieved Don Granato and called on Don Lever.

Continue reading...

Kevin Brown Effect-OHA Now Requires Neck Guards for Officials

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The Ontario Hockey Association ruled yesterday that neck guards will become mandated for all on-ice officials February first. Until then they will be encouraged but not required. This is a direct response to the incident on December 29th when 25 year-old linesmen Kevin Brown's throat was slashed while officiating a game.

As reported earlier in Call of the Wild  Brown's throat was slashed while breaking up a third period fight during a match between the Woodstock Renegades and the New Hamburg Firebirds.  He still remains under medical care in Ontario.  


The material which will make up the required neck guards is made of ballistic plastic. This type of plastic is usually a polycarbonate or acrylic and is also commonly used for bullet proof or resistant glass.  Most goalie neck guards are made of this material since NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk nearly lost his life in 1989.  Malarchuk's internal jugular was slashed during a pile up in the Buffalo crease . Like Brown's injury it was considered shocking and the response was the sight of the goalie neck guards we see commonly today. http://www.letsgosabres.com/pressbox/fullstory.php?newsid=10240  


In yesterdays announcement Dick Woods an OHA spokesman stated it simply.

"One of our mandates as the caretaker of junior hockey in Ontario is to ensure that our players, and our officials, are as safe as possible," 


Well said.

Linesman's Throat Cut During Junior Game December 29th.

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Let us not forget hockey is a game played by athletes with blades on their feet and clubs in their hands.  The men and women that keep order on the ice do so at great risk.  Last Tuesday linesman Kevin Brown was gravely injured during the third period of a Woodstock Renegades and New Hamburg Firebirds game when a player was turned end over end slicing Brown's his throat with his skate blade.  Mr. Brown is listed in critical but stable condition at this time in London Ontario's Health Science Center .  http://www.nugget.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2240566

All of us at Call of the Wild wish Mr. Brown a speedy recovery.

Taking a Moment to say Thank You on this Holiday Morning, Again.

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

This entry was originally published 12/25/08, my Mother once told me you can never recognize good works or say thank you enough. So in that spirt I present my thoughts again.

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Christmas morning and I'm up early. The sun is shining for the first time in a couple of days, there is a cup of coffee next to me, it may not be my favorite Tim Horton's but you know what, life is darn good on this Christmas Day.


Last Sunday while covering the Rockford game I took a break to meet with friend and colleague, Kris.  While we were chatting about lenses, children and hockey I asked her about something she mentioned in an earlier email.  It seemed it had been Kris's turn to do the "locker room and bus food" shopping for the team the night before and it had been quite a run.  Locker room food?  


To those of us who are fans of the AAA and NHL teams this is going to seem like a supportive and amazing story but it is true for and I have heard it several times between the UHL and ECHL and now with the  converted UHL/AHL IceHogs.    


Two years ago on a cold winters night Patrick and I found ourselves in Dayton Ohio covering a Gwinnette Gladiators and Dayton Bombers game. After the game we met with dedicated fans  and talked into the early morning hours. One of the topics of conversation was the extensive support the booster club gave to the players. This included furniture and appliances for apartments, and food for every bus trip (individually packaged of course) and "locker room food" at every game.  We were simply astounded.  Months later in Toledo we heard the same thing including a semi formal practice of families "adopting players". Families only mind you, no puck bunnies need apply.


Last week was the first I had heard of it in the AHL, it is a practice continued from the UHL IceHogs of the past. Bless these boosters for their dedication to their team in providing them touches of home, food and support when these young men are on their own for possibly the first time in their lives. Yes, they are adults being paid well to play a game we played on ponds as kids.But still, it is a lovely thing these families are doing for their teams. Often in smaller cities where the dollar is tighter these days like Dayton,Rockford and Toledo. 


So Merry Christmas Kris and all boosters who work to support their teams and worthy causes at the same time. But you know what, that's hockey and on this beautiful Christmas morning life is good.


Update 2009, as special Happy Christmas to Mr. and Mrs. Philips who are on their way to join their son Davy for Boxing Day tomorrow. Hope your travels today are safe and smooth, your reunion sweet.

Blackhawk Great Reggie Fleming Cause of Death: Preventable

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

When Reggie Fleming died last July the cause of death was not announced. Instead, his son, Chris Fleming, sent his father's brain to Boston University for study. Throughout his life, Reggie Fleming had been dogged with mysterious ailments.


He was manic depressive in his 40's. There were short-term memory losses in his 50's. There was an inability to control his temper throughout his life.


The medical team's findings were chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease with symptoms of cognitive decline, behavioral abnormalities and ultimately dementia. All of this may have been caused by concussions; so many during his 15-year professional hockey career that they are impossible to count. Fleming becomes the first hockey player to have been diagnosed with the disease, a diagnosis which can only be found through autopsy. It is certain he will not be the last.


Fleming's diagnosis of CTE opens the door for the National Hockey League and the players

association to have a serious look at the league's protocol for players returning after concussions. These protocols has been in place since 1998. In 1998 they were the first concussion protocols in professional sports. However, given the strides in neurological research a new look at the protocol is certainly in order.


Rules changes are also being looked at in the effort to reduce concussions as many are the result to back checks and shoulder hits. Last month a committee was formed to study the issue. A report from this committee is expected before the end of the season.


It is a good beginning but only a start, the issue of CTE and traumatic brain injuries is the elephant under the table in hockey. In order to address an issue as complex as this one in a sports culture as opposed to interventions as hockey, many studies will be needed to produce change.


The Messier Project founded by legend Mark Messier, is working with Cascade Sports, a helmet manufacturer, to reduce head injuries. Cascade's engineering combined with Messier's vision and experience to produce a helmet that features chambers that give upon impact, much like shock absorbers, then resume their previous shape.


Messier made a presentation of the Messier Project http://themessierproject.com and the helmet to the General Managers of the National Hockey League recently. High school and junior teams are buying into the design and equipping their teams, according to the web site. And although the AHL and the NHL teams are still not on the lists of purchasers, enforcers Kip Brennan of the Springfield Falcons and Kevin Westgarth of the Manchester Monarchs are listed as having purchased the helmet.


We don't have to fundamentally change the sport of hockey to make it safer. But attitudes must change or there will be another generation of Reggie Flemings, dying by inches to what are at least partially preventable injuries.

Chicago Wolves win in see-saw battle with Milwaukee Admirals 4-2

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

The Chicago Wolves won in a see-saw battle that saw the Wolves take and lose the lead twice. Dominating the first period of play, the Wolves only scored once. Milwaukee dominated the second period of play, but only scored once. In the final period, the Wolves held on to win the game.

Wolves scratches Gratton, Sipotz, Vernace, Esposito (Out for season), Hunt, Lewis, Lehman

Milwaukee Admirals scratches Laakso (Upper Body Injury), Mark Santorelli (Lower Body Injury)

Referee is Ian Croft, linesmen are Brian Oliver and Roger Behling.

Wolves starters: Welch, Anderson, Crabb, McCarthy and Stapleton. Mannino (on a 2 game losing streak, 3-2-0, 2.22 GAA, 92.6%Sv) in net.

MAds starters Dietrich, Guite, Grant, Jessiman, Ford and Pickard (on a 3 game winning streak, 7-4-2, 2.37 GAA, 91%Sv) in net.

 

First Period: In the first period, Jason Krog scored his sixth goal and 30th point of the season, drawing first blood shooting a backhand off a rebound he caught between the goal and the right circle. Admiral Center Wacey Rabbit received a pass from behind the net to score his sixth goal of the season to even the score. It was only the second shot on goal in the period for the Admirals and the last shot on goal for the MAds for another eight minutes. The shots on goal: 13-5 (11 min, SOG are 9-2 in favor of CW at 15 minutes still 11-2).

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Wolves Captain Jason Krog has Ben Gutie keeping company during the first period.

In the second frame, Ryan Maki steals the puck from Nathan Oystrick,  Oysty tries to slash, but falls down instead. Maki has it wide open but is stopped by Mannino. Later, Mike Santorelli and Chris Mueller have several opportunities on Mannino but are held off. In the same shift, Nolan Yonkman decks Brett Sterling. Sterling checks Yonkman three times, without his stick, frustrating Yonkman's shift, all without. Don Lever says the two have been after each other for years, trying to throw off each others game, he wishes the referee had taken better control of the situation.

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Nolan Yonkman this time trading checks with Brett Sterling during the second frame in the Milwaukee defensive zone.

It's a much better period for the MAds, SOG is CW 2 versus MAds 10 with 10 minutes past. Chelios recovered his own rebound and fired a rocket from outside the left circle to give the Wolves their second lead. Yonkman and Sterling roughing it up outside the Wolves net. They've had a hard on for each other throughout the game. Yonkman has 73 pounds and 11 inches on Sterling. But Sterls isn't holding back. The Admirals shot total steadily climbs, but Wolves Goaltender Mannino holds them at bay, stopping 19 Admiral shots on goal. Admirals Center Cal O'Reilly recorded his sixth goal of the year, a power play goal from near the blue line and through traffic, to tie the game with just 49 seconds remaining in the frame.

Third period: Anthony Stewart gave the Wolves their third lead in the third period. Arturs Kulda and Chelios give a lesson in defense, backstopped by Mannino they hold the Admirals off and keep Chicago in the game. After Yonkman took a penalty with just 1:33 remaining, the Admirals pulled their goalie. Johnny Pohl scored a power play goal on the empty net, it was his seventh goal of the year, to end the game 4-2.

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Milwaukee nettie Chet Picard

They came at us with 20 shots on net in the second period," Wolves Head Coach Don Lever said. "But Peter (Mannino) and the guys hung in there."

In the third frame, Anthony Stewart gave the Wolves another lead, finding a hole in Admiral Goalie Chet Pickard's glove side. After Yonkman took a penalty with just 1:33 remaining, the Admirals pulled their goalie. Johnny Pohl scored a power play goal on the empty net, it was his seventh goal of the year, to end the game 4-2.

"Stewart's goal was the real turning point," Lever noted.

"Mannino was the turning point," Milwaukee Head Coach Lane Lambert said, "We had a slow start in the first period. He was the difference in the second period."

"We had a lot of ups and downs, but we fought back and played well," Mannino told the Tribune. "Arturs stopped three or four shots. That contribution wins games," he said.

Game Notes: Chicago peppered Chet Pickard with 13 shots on goal in the first frame. Pickard was on a three game winning streak. He is 8-5-2 for the season with a 2.39 GAA and a record of 91 percent saves. Peter Mannino stopped 19 shots on goal in the second frame. He has a record of 4-2-0, a GAA of 2.19 and a record of 92.9 percent saves. He was on a two game losing streak.

The Admirals, who have a 10-6-1-2 away record this season, are in a three-way tie at 35 points for second place in the Western Division, with games in hand on one of the other two teams. The Texas Stars lead the division and the league with 44 points. Lambert said the Admirals see a lot of points still on the table. "We need to beat them head-to-head," he said.

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My favorite hockey memories

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

I'm in Kalamazoo, Michigan today, talking to the Gwinnett Gladiators and the K-Wings. They play two games here this weekend. Gwinnett is the AA affiliate in the ECHL of the Chicago Wolves and the Atlanta Thrashers. They are also affiliated with the Syracuse Crunch and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The K-Zoo K-Wings are in their first season in the ECHL. They were formerly part of the International Hockey League, the United Hockey League and before that the old International Hockey League.

The barn here is an old place, and you could be excused for thinking they could have used it to film SlapShot. My last visit, in 2007, was among the top hockey moments this decade.

It was a semi-final game played in the UHL between the Rockford IceHogs and the K-Wings. The IceHogs had sent several buses to the game, filling a corner of the K-Wings Stadium. Each team had, till that point, won each of their home games in the best of seven. But that night, a Saturday, the Hogs were clearly going to win it. Back at our old home on the ChiTownDailyNews you can see some of the blood spilled. The first bad sign: a piece of glass was popped into the crowd, much like what happened at the United Center earlier this week.

As Moe, Larry and Curly took their time to repair the glass, helped by the crowd, Jane was fuming. Her camera had run out of battery power and I was taking all the shots. And, they were great shots too.

We returned to the game only to watch one of the biggest and longest line brawls I have ever seen happen. It was so intense that the two goalies got into it, they were given game misconducts. Then, the second Hogs goalie called out his counter part, because the brawl was still continuing...

I'm not sure what the rule is if both goalies on the team are ejected. It must have happened at some time. But the linemen got between them and said something to the effect that if you get ejected your team won't have a goalie, so make your choice.

The piece I wrote, Saturday's Alright for Fighting, remains among my favorites.

Talking to K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland, he just nods when I remember that night. His picture from that fight, which I've nicknamed hockey virgin due to the fan expression immediately behind him, ordains my computer desktop. The K-Wings sport his brother Darryl, just back from time in the Manitoba Moose, Ben Simon, a former Wolves and Mitch Versteeg (I've heard that name rattling around Chicago somewhere).

There is much to be said about the lower levels of hockey. If you've never been to a minor league hockey game, and you have the chance, take it. Here are some of the other most memorable games from this decade of hockey:

·         The Chicago Wolves defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to win their first AHL title in 2002.

·         The Rockford IceHogs defeat the Kalamazoo K-Wings to win their only league title, in the UHL, in 2007

·         The Chicago Hounds ice fails to harden, meaning they forfeit their first home game, in 2006

·         After my boss offers to send me to the 2006 SuperBowl, I refuse. I already have tickets to travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba to watch the Chicago Wolves play. With the temperature chasing -45 F, my daughter calls from Chicago to ask me to perform a science experiment: Does spit freeze before it hits the ground? It's too damn cold to find out I respond. Two of the best games we've ever spent with some of the greatest fans in the world.

·         The Gwinnett Gladiators play a semi-final game in Toledo, Ohio against the Storm. The glass in the old barn is so low that fans reach over it and pull players hair during fights. A cloud of grease and fog hangs over the ice. As they start the national anthem, the crowd goes into overdrive, eventually causing the singer to stop and walk off the ice. As the Gladiators begin pulling away, the crowd reacts by showering the ice with beer, hot dogs and whatever else can be thrown. Being from out of town, we retreat out of the stands. The Glads win the game and the series, but go on to get beat in the Kelly Cup Finals by Alaska, probably one of the longest distances a championship has been played in this continent or for that matter anywhere.

·         On the same weekend we watch the Rockford IceHogs ice the Colonial Championship, we drive like fools to Hamilton, Ontario to watch the Chicago Wolves in a semi-final match with Don Lever's Hamilton Bulldogs. Any hockey trip to Canada is serious fun and this was no different. The Wolves go down in flames. However, Freddy Braithwaite, who won a Memorial Cup in Hamilton, keeps the Bulldogs from getting a shutout with a 1-0 shutout. As the fans leave, we grab a broom, abandoned on the ground. Outside, for what must only be the second time in our lives, we track down the players and have them autograph the broom (we never seek autographs). The broom hangs in our home still.

·         Covering the Blackhawk Cup last spring, I'm forced to take Jane to the hospital emergency room before the women's final. As we're sitting there, I'm calling the Blackhawks to report we will not make it to the finals, but Jane tells me that we'll make it. We do. But due to the drugs, she is repeatedly going to the comfort rooms. I stand guard over the hole in the glass. A couple of cowboy photographers order me out of the hole. Without saying it aloud, they suggest we aren't as committed to the sport as they are (they also have fancier equipment, but their photos still suck!). We move after some words.

·         After fifty years, I take my brother to my first Blackhawks game. We watch from four rows off the glass as Corey Crawford shuts out the Anaheim Ducks.

·         And, finally, our friends Vlad and Holly Len introduce us to the madness known as the Traverse City Tournament. Wineries, casinos, hockey... Oh! And Vlad and Holly went fishing while Jane and I made out in the cabin. What more could you ask of a hockey holiday?

 

So, let's hear about your favorite hockey memories.

10 Personal Favorite Hockey Moments

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

  1. In the early 80's I attended my first Sabres game with friends. It was at the old Aud in Buffalo and the opponent was the Detroit RedWings. As the game opened a single octopus hit the ice and the helmet less ref donned a glove and with a a sour look removed the offending creature from the ice. Little did I know it would be my first classic moment of hockey.

9)1980 Lake Placid Olympics. I still get chills thinking about watching that wonderful game on a 10" black and white TV in my first apartment. Did Jim Craig ever find his Father in the crowd?


8) The party the night Alex Mogilny defected. I was in Boston at a convention with a relative of one of the of the Sabres owners and if I remember correctly it was a great party. At least I think it was, there was a lot of vodka involved.


7) As a Sabers fan one year I got to see Alex Mogilny and Wayne Gretzky on the ice together, poetry in motion .


6) Watching the 2002 Chicago Wolves playoff series and seeing the cup carried around the ice for the first time.


5)Falling in love with the United Hockey League IceHogs. One year on on St. Patrick's Day my husband and I went to our first Rockford IceHogs game I absolutely fell in love with the team and its rough and tumble style of hockey.


4) Seeing the Rockford IceHogs win the 2007 Colonial Cup. I can remember wiping tears away as I photographed the closing minutes of the game as the crowd cheered around me. The UHL Hogs were going to become a part of the American Hockey League, would the personality of the team change and how would the fans adjust? As we all know, they did just fine as Mike Peck assured me they would.


3) Is this heaven or are we in Toledo? In 2007 we jumped in the car and went to see the Wolves affiliate the Gwinette Gladiators play in the semifinals for the Kelly Cup against the Toledo Storm. It would prove to be one of the most memorable fan experiences of my life. Including an anthem singer being booed down, garbage being thrown on the ice after an opponent's goal and glass so short the local fans reached over the top to assault  players. Ahh hockey, did I mention the crazed local who tried to assault me ?


2) My first press pass


1) When I arrived at the 2007 Rockford IceHogs Kalamazoo K-Kings game 6 in the Colonial Cup semifinals I had my shiny new DSLR and I was quite impressed with myself and the new camera. What I didn't know was that I also had not one but two dead batteries in my camera bag. Several minutes into the first frame the camera quit and I became a spectator. That is how I got to watch one of the best games played in the last 10 years. I have been thanking the hockey Gods ever since for those dead batteries. Ask anyone who at that game about it, just watch their eyes light up. The game had everything, constant action, broken plexi, line brawls and even a goalie fight .What a night to be a fan, isn't in the end what is all about?



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New hockey league announced with classic name: Federal Hockey League

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Shades of Oggie Oglethorpe! Two cities in upstate New York, Danbury, Connecticut and Ottawa, Ontario have joined forces to create a new Federal Hockey League. The league promises to start operations in the 2010-11 season.


The Federal League, made famous by the movie Slapshot! Supposedly existed in hard scrabble towns like Johnstown and Syracuse, real rust-belt towns that still support minor league hockey teams. Promising a 60 game schedule of A level hockey, the league plans to add at least two additional cities before next season, it says.

Glass pops into crowd and the mind wanders...

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Eventually you see everything twice, either through your stereo eyes or by being around long enough. And so it was that after Brent Seabrook smashed St. Louis Blues blue liner Alex Pietrangelo into the boards AND the [glass popped out](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-wolves-call-of-the-wild/2009/12/live-from-the-united-center---hit-by-seabrook-to-pietrangelo-pops-glass-out.html), landing in the crowd. As it happened I thought: I've seen this before.

The first time I saw glass fall into the stands it shattered everywhere-- it was back at the time when Harry Dumas was still a referee. Dumas was calling that game. The rumor was that the man was a relative of Kerry Fraser. Fraser himself often makes lists of worst refs ever. When Dumas called a game, it revolved around him, not the play on the ice. This ego-centric beneficiary of nepotism finally had his due when the league did not renew his contract.

Dumas makes my list of worst referees ever. He was there the last time I saw a pane of glass land in the crowd. He makes my list as among the worst referees in the sport and the one that I'm most happy is no longer around. Funny how a pane of glass makes you think about this stuff. Here is the full list, in no particular order:

  • ANYONE with the last name of Koharski (there are currently two with orange sleeves)
  • Tudor Floru
  • Harry Dumas

Why so short? I figure this is a great place for you, the reader, to get into the action. Who are the worst officials you've seen in the world of hockey? Why?

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Live from the United Center - Hit by Seabrook to Pietrangelo pops glass out

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Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

Patrick Boylan and Jane Rickard are reporting LIVE right now from the United Center during the Chicago Blackhawks vs St Louis Blues game.  

Apparently Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook hit Blues' Pietrangelo, knocking loose a piece of glass. Patrick caught these pictures of the fans in the stands helping the UC Crew putting the glass back into place.

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Photo credit: Patrick Boylan

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Photo credit: Patrick Boylan.

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Photo credit: Patrick Boylan.

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Photo credit: Patrick Boylan.

 

Rockford's battling goalie: Dan Cloutier

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Dan Cloutier may not be property of the Chicago Blackhawks, but his on-ice work ethic is creating buzz. Signed by the AAA affiliate of the Blackhawks to a professional tryout contract, Cloutier was brought in net to plug gaps left by injuries to the minor league team's goalie roster.

The veteran NHL goaltender promptly got it on, in the hockey sense of the word, dropping the gloves and raising the bar for Rockford goalies to come, taking on Manitoba Moose big man Guillaume Desbiens, as recounted by our own Kris Gray.

Reed Schreck, who covers the IceHogs for the Rockford Register Star notes in his hockey column last night that Cloutier has a number of YouTube appearances, including one in which he taunts beats the hell out of the other goalie then skates over to the New York Islanders bench to remind them who du man.

We've been blessed to see a number of goalie fights, they are as common as a bench clearing brawl, which means very unusual. I'm not promising anything, but just reminding people that the rivalry between the Chicago Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs will be expressed once again on Friday night at the MetroCentre in downtown Rockford, an easy run for the readers in the Northwest subs. You never know what you might see. Fun for the whole family.

 

Which Chicago Wolves player is the subject of a The Hockey News Poll? VOTE

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

It should be printed on our LAZ's parking meters as the city moto: vote early, vote often. The Hockey News, is holding a poll this week that features a key member of the Chicago Wolves: Chris Chelios. What the heck, have your say, have it several times.

Will Chris Chelios play in the NHL again? Yes or No?

Follow the link above to go to the poll.

For a brief shining moment, there was someone older than Chris Chelios playing this week

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

E J Hradek of ESPN The Magazine reports that Slava Fetisov played eight minutes as an emergency replacement in a KHL game between CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersberg. Fetisov who put his name on the Stanley Cup twice had been retired for eleven years, Hradek reports.

Added to his stats were a -1 from the 3-2 loss. Fetisov, a member of the Russian Parliament, for a brief moment, was the oldest player playing professional hockey, beating youngster Chris Chelios, 47, for another moment in the rare air.

Although Fetisov says his days on the ice are over, the coach said, not so fast, Fetisov looked good out there. Maybe he should play more.

Gallery V- Linesman, Stepping into Harms Way!

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

You have to really respect linesmen. I mean really respect these guys, first they have to have all the skating skill of a player. The poise of a ballet dancer and the courage of a matador. These are the guys in stripes that keep the peace, stop the fights before they happen and finish them when the pugilists are past safety. We are lucky in Chicago in the last few years there has been a stand out linesmen on the ice, Al Stensland winner of the 2009 Michael Conland Award for outstanding contributions as an on ice official. This is a bit late but consider this a a thank you and a belated congratulations on a job well done .


This gallery is for you Al...

Gallery sneak peek (22 images):

View the gallery...

Chelios talking about 25 game extension

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

"I've had an offer," Chris Chelios said in an interview with BIlly Gardner on WPWR Saturday night, "I'm more content playing here, playing the 20 minutes, as I would be going to an NHL team and being the seventh defenseman."
"I'm in a pretty good situation here. It would take a pretty good opportunity where I could get a fifth or sixth spot. But I don't want to bail out on the (Wolves). Right now my plans are to be here. Realistically if anything is going to happen it will happen closer to the trade deadline, when teams are looking for insurance. But it would have to take a pretty good situation to leave the Wolves."
"I think I'm allowed to sign another (PTO)," Chelios said.


Who is Lady Byng? And for that matter who is Lord Stanley?

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

“Who is Lady Byng?”


And, in reply, who the hell is Lord Stanley? If sports is all about nostalgia, and I would submit that the love of a sport is all about nostalgia, then why is the National Hockey League entertaining the idea of renaming its awards for a new generation. Here it is from Canadian Broadcasting Co hockey analyst Glenn Healy last night on the Hot Stove:


It's about time the NHL made further changes to pay tribute to those who made history on the ice, rather than in the boardrooms, Healy said.

"The award for best defenceman is currently named after a [former Detroit Red Wings] owner. Give me a break," he said. [Note: The rest of the world spells its with a C, not an S. Get a grip word nazis.]

Most people don't even know who Lady Byng (the wife of Gov. Gen. Viscount Byng of Vimy) was, he added. [Note: Actually, Healy used the opening quote.]

That the NHL would decide that the Stanley Cup was not going to be renamed, but that it would destroy it's investment in other trophies speaks volumes.

"This is about the history of the game," HNIC analyst Mike Milbury said. "I know the players are a big part of it, but there are some other people in the business that had something to do with it. The names are good, they run with history. Leave it alone."


It wouldn't be the first time a big name trophy was renamed in Canada. The former Memorial Cup is now known as the MasterCard Memorial Cup. MASTERCARD? I may have to add that to the first reference, but that isn't how normal people talk about what some call the most difficult trophy to win in sports. MasterCard is the junk mail I receive, enticing me to easy credit, at high interest rates, not the cup won in a match that has united a country.


Here we go again in the NHL. It is a place where the dubious qualities of the shootout were embraced to get those Southern retirees, they still love their hockey ya' know, to go to games and to hell with the people of Winnipeg, London and Hamilton who love their game more. Let's rewind and remember how the league abandoned the division names in the early 1990's. Norris, Patrick, Adams, Smythe: much easier for the know-nothings of the South who don't attend games in any case, to have descriptive names like Central, Northwest, Pacific, Atlantic, Northeast and Sux.


"I hate it, too," HNIC host Ron MacLean added.


Yeah that. Deep six this idea.


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Gallery III- Look what the Ref Missed!

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The Camera Sees All...


The linesman and referees do a difficult job on the ice. In the American Hockey League the single referee enforces the rules, his eyes must see all. The linesmen have an even more difficult role they are the keepers of the tone. They are the ones that must have the courage and poise to step in between players as they ready to slug it out and later if the dance has started. Consider that these gentleman area also in the developmental stage of their careers as well as the players and things can get pretty complicated on the ice.


This gallery is a series of shots showing that no matter how hard these gentlemen try they can't see it all , they are only human. The National Hockey League has a second referee on the ice as well as two linesmen. Perhaps if this was the case in the AHL there would be fewer of these shots for the lens to capture. After all the boys just want to have fun!


Gallery sneak peek (23 images):

View the gallery...

Another Black Friday loss: PK and early lead melts away

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Black Friday has come and gone and the discussion of whether the Wolves have some sort of curse, well, Head Coach Don Lever doesn't buy it, saying he doesn't believe in curses (and in any case, what is the curse? Just that the team has a poor record of 2-11-0-1 playing on Black Friday).


But how do you explain a game where the team takes a lead 65 seconds into the contest, goes on to kill two full two minute five on three power plays and stops 29 shots on goal and it still loses the game? Well we can start by asking where the offense is: where is the offense? Don Lever says ask the offensive line. Stay tuned for tomorrow.


The 5:3 penalty kill is now 4/4 for the season, with the total penalty kill running at 89.7 percent. However, if you adjust that for the time since Chris Chelios/ Lever joined the team, the PK is 93.7 percent. Would you believe there is a team with an even better PK? Yep, The Hershey Bears have a better PK at 94 percent.


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Turkeys Away: Wolves are 2-10-0-1 on Black Friday

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Black Friday, the day after the team has filled itself. For your enjoyment, I've researched the history of the Chicago Wolves on games on Thanksgiving, and immediately after the holiday. The only time the team has ever played on Thanksgiving Day was in its first year, 1994, when it faced the Fort Wayne Komets and won. If the first game after the holiday is Black Saturday, it has a perfect 2-0 record. However, if it plays on Black Friday, it has a terrible record: 2-10-0-1. And, in five of the years, the loss started a multiple game losing streak.

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Gallery II- He's no Goon, That's our Enforcer!

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Fighting is never going to leave North American hockey, it is an integral although increasingly small part of the game . Fights are what brings the crowd to its feet, the fans in the door and separates the men from the boys. Well, that's the surface of the story, the reality is the role of fighting and the enforcer is much deeper than that. The occasional dance may start spontaneously. More often though they are a calculated release of tension for the team. The message to let the other team know that they can't mess with a goalie, a beloved 5'8" captain, or our we will take care of you. Time was when every team had an enforcer. A big guy who stood for every line change casting a long shadow across the ice protecting the little guys, allowing the skill players the "space' they need on the ice to dazzle.



Gallery sneak peek (39 images):

View the gallery...
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Gallery I-The Hero and the Goat- the Goalie Man

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

How would you like a job where every time you made a mistake red lights flashed and thousands of people stood up and cheered? That is the fate of the goalie every time they strap on the pads and take to the ice.

The goalie is the linchpin of the team championships are won and lost on their  shoulders. The American Hockey League is a developmental league it's fans are fortunate enough to see the growth of many of the National Hockey League goalies as they come in as 19 year olds to season and move up to the big show after a year or two.

This the first of what will be many galleries to come. It is dedicated to my favorite on ice subject, the goalie man, the goat, the hero, the man in the mask.

Gallery sneak peek (26 images):

View the gallery...

H1N1 Vaccine Investigation, Like the Flu it Spreads

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Yes indeed, it looks like the questions have spread to the Province of Ontario and the management of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors are on the hot seat. Explaining how professional athletes are considered high risk and have gotten H1N1 vaccines ahead of other Canadian citizens.


Amid all the hysteria and investigation Canada's Chief Public Health officer Dr Davie Butler-Jones cut to the heart of the matter and explained it in terms we all can grasp.


As reported on Healthzone .ca "the priority list was developed according to who was at greatest risk of getting really sick or dying from H1N1 and hockey players are not in that category."

"We do love our hockey, but the guidelines are based on those who are at greatest risk of developing severe disease or dying," said Butler-Jones, the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada."There will be vaccine available for everybody, so those at lower risk really should wait because the risk of death is higher in other groups and hockey players are at no greater risk than anyone else, unless they have underlying diabetes or another chronic condition that puts them at greater risk," he said. http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/swineflu/article/722055--flu-shots-for-leafs-raptors-spark-fury



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Teams Reacting to Influenza 2009 style.

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Last week ChicagoNow had a chance to talk to the coaches of both Chicago Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs on the same subject "what are you doing to help your teams stay healthy during this pandemic?"


First both teams have programs in place and are taking common sense measures. Every player has their own water bottle, no sharing allowed, separate towels, hand sanitizer rules the locker rooms. Each team has seen to it that every player has had a seasonal flu shot. Both coach Bill Peters of the IceHogs and Don Lever of the Wolves denied that there had been any players receiving H11N1 vaccinations due to high risk status. Coach Peters also said the Hogs would receive H1N1 vaccines when they became available. The second difference seems to be how ill players are treated on the road, the Wolves segregate ill players in their own rooms immediately the IceHogs do not.


These are all common sense responses, there is a shortage of H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine and it is still being given to"high risk" patients and their care givers in both Cook and Winnebago counties where both teams based. However, in Alberta the the Flames seem to be taking a more aggressive approach to the virus and prevention.



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Year Long Suspension in Ontario Hockey League

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The league has spoken in the boarding incident of last weekend that left Kitchner Ranger Ben Fenelli in hospital with serious injuries.  

Here is the link to the story and the league's decision.

http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/ohl- ... rs-p138647

2nd round Blackhawks draft pick Dan Bertram leaves hockey: IceHogs

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Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

by Kris Gray

Update on Blackhawks' Prospect Dan Bertram. In the pre-season Dan Bertram, selected in the second round, 54th overall in the 2005 entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks suffered an injury in a game against the Peoria Rivermen.


At the start of the season he was assigned to the ECHL Toledo Walleyes, the Blackhawks' and IceHogs AA affiliate. Fans soon noticed that he was missing from the Walleye's roster. The AHL transactions had listed him as being added back onto the IceHogs roster on October 12th. According to the IceHogs Director of Communications, Chris Etheridge, "Dan Bertram is pursuing other activities outside of hockey. He is no longer on any team's roster".


The exact reason for Bertrams sudden exit from hockey is unknown.

 
Bertram vs Lawrence

Dan Bertram pictured on 10-25-08 in his first AHL fight. Credit: Kris Gray

Traumatic Brain Injuries : The Smoldering Issue Inside Hockey, Part 2

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

This morning I woke up thinking about a conversation I had with Don Granato last summer on the subject of chin straps and head injuries. He spoke to me about sitting at his brothers Tony's bed side nursing him through a serious head injury and his long recovery. Fortunately Tony Granato made a full recovery and is now the assistant head coach for the National Hockey Leagues Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again, it illustrated to me that head injuries serious and cumulative, are an issue in this sport and need to be addressed.


Everywhere people have heard of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" it is a deadly form of child abuse where an infant or small child's brain is bruised beyond repair by simply shaking the child. The best illustration of how this happens is by placing a tennis ball in a jar shake it. There is a fluid filled space in everyones head between the brain and the skull. With enough force , say being boarded , this will allow a brain to bump not so gently into the scull. Simply put this is a concussion, a bruise inside your head, as we all know some bruises are worse than others. When a player is hit hard enough to cause a concussion the damage starts, how many concussions do players get over a lifetime of hockey? Sometimes dozens, often they loose count and many fall into a "sub clinical " , "Oh I just saw some stars" category and are just shaken off. This minor damage builds up over time and shows later in life such as short term memory problems or in extreme Pseudo-Parkinson's. Mohammad Ali is the most famous suffer of brain injury induced Pseudo-Parkinson's, basically adult shaken baby syndrome.


Pretty serious stuff for a Sunday morning. What is to be done ? Utterly change hockey and wrap players in bubble wrap? No. What does need to be done is better equipment, like helmets, realistic chinstraps, mouth guards that can be breathed through. A second Refree in the American Hockey League would also help with safety. Player safety can improve without changing the sport totally, but somethings will have to go, loose chinstraps that allow a helmet to fly off at contact with the glass is one.


Lastly as the Players Association starts contract talks it is time to address this serpent under the table before it bites another generation.


Please, look at the following images to see what a loose chin strap and a tight one looks like.

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Mike Vernace In uniform as a Lake Erie Monster, Now of the Chicago Wolves, the chins strap looks tight but, only because the helmet is pushed up on his head. The top of his forehead is can be seen, this helmet offers no protection .IMG_2606.gif

Blackhawk prospect Akim Aliu, now with the Rockford IceHogs. Taken when he was a 18 year old Major Junior, look at that floppy strap!IMG_8165.gif

Stevie Martins, one of the loosest chin straps in the league.IMG_9809.gif

Chad Denny, at last a player who has it right, strap tight under the chin. Chad is more than willing to drop the gloves, but he protects his noggin until he is ready. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries, the Smoldering Issue Within Hockey

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Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Yes. it has happened again, another family is sitting vigil in a hospital room with an injured athlete fighting for his life and future. Kirchner Ranger Ben Fenelli was injured in an on ice boarding incident which caused his helmet to fly off upon contact with the glass. Again it calls attention to a smoldering fire within hockey that of helmets, concussions, head injuries and safety equipment. The young men and women that play this sport of fire and ice pay a high price for its power and speed that we all know and love.


Although for much of my day I look at the world through a Canon lens, I also have another another working life that of a public health nurse. This gives me a perspective many other photographers do not have. It has also given me a great interest in a serious issue facing hockey, post Traumatic Brain Injuries. Hockey in general has been slow to address this issue due to what most would call the macho culture of the sport. I can remember well as a student at RIT watching club hockey games how the teams would fight for the "right" not to wear helmets in 1978. Times have changed and although we see collegiate players now wearing full cages and the NHL wearing face shields concussions are still commonplace among players.


Two years ago I spoke with UHL veteran Brendan Tedstone regarding his mouthpiece. He proudly described it as a "guaranteed no concussion" piece of safety equipment. That lead me on a trail of looking into just what do these guys put into their mouths, most use nothing at all. Some a model at $1.98 seen flopping in and out of their mouths and a few a more elaborate model. The problem with the "no concussion" design Mr. Tedstone liked and some NHL players use is that is is difficult to breathe through. If it interferes with performance you are not going to get most players to use it regularly



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