September 26, 2011
Blackhawks prospect, Jimmy Hayes set the table at 9:33 in the 3rd period for another prospect Brandon Pirri, to score his second goal of the game. As the teams transitioned towards Chicago's zone, Hawks rookie Ben Smith was not giving up on anything and forced a Wing's turnover that put Jimmy Hayes into a one-on-one match up he dished to Pirri who kept himself in the play and scored to force a Chicago overtime.
Earlier, Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith combined to assist Jimmy Hayes' backhand goal with 3:59 left in the second period sending the Hawks into the 3rd period down 3-2.
Brandon Pirri scored again in the Hawks first shootout attempt against Ty Conklin, but attempts from goal-setter Michael Frolik and prospect Brandon Saad were stopped as the Red Wings edged the Blackhawks 4-3 in Detroit.
If coming up with loose pucks, being strong on the puck and getting to the front of the net is something Chicago coach Joel Quenneville likes, then this group of prospects are committed to making his decision on the one open forward spot difficult--the type every organization doesn't mind having. Clearly, Quenneville has been impressed by the level of talent at this season's training camp saying, "It's the best collection of shooters or skill I've seen."
Included in this elite group of roster hopefuls is the 18 year old, 6-foot-1, 202-pound Brandon Saad, who Friday night against the Capitals, finished on the same line with Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, both of whom entered the NHL as teenagers. Toews, commenting on Saad said, he "is one of those guys who's showing he can do that. He has the mindset that he (can) make plays at any level."
At the end of last season there was plenty of talk about trading silk for sandpaper as the Blackhawks were respected less for abrasion than persuasion. Though the Hawks don't have a designated Beast-in-the-Crease they clearly have more grit on their sandpaper with the addition of veteran defenseman Steve Montador who has a career 762 penalty minutes in 519 career games, forward Jamal Mayers who has a career 1093 penalty minutes in 815 regular season games and veteran winger Daniel Carcillo who has amassed 986 penalty minutes in 282 regular season games. After keeping his head and staying out of the penalty box Thursday night against the Penguins, Carcillo found his way to the penalty box twice for a total of 4 of the Hawks 12 penalty minutes Sunday against Detroit.
Having spent the last three seasons with the Wild, Andrew Brunette sees this year's Blackhawks team as a contender to win it all--especially because of the team's strong defense. "I look at the back end and ...probably of all the teams I've been on it's one of the best" Brunette said. A free agent, Brunette signed with the Hawks in July and made his debut Friday night at the United Center in a 3-2 exhibition win over the Capitals.
The Blackhawks AHL affiliate, The Rockford IceHogs, will host the Chicago Wolves, the Vancouver Canucks affiliate on Wednesday, Sept 28 at Carlson Ice Arena. The IceHog's training camp roster currently stands at 34 (20 forwards, 11 defensemen and three goalies). Rockford Register Star beat writer, Reed Schreck, is anxious to get his first look at the newly assigned Blackhawks prospects, particularly given how difficult this year's Blackhawks prospects have made player assignment decisions for Joel Quenneville and Scotty Bowman. There is little doubt that Schreck will be looking forward to some first rate Hogs hockey whatever Quenneville and Bowman decide when the 2011-2012 season opens against the Grand Rapids Griffins on October 8 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Filed under: AHL, Andrew Brunette, Blackhawks, Chicago Wolves, Daniel Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Journalism, Reed Schreck, Rockford IceHogs, Rockford Registar Star, Scotty Bowman, Steve Mantador, Uncategorized