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Training Camp, Day 2

09/28/2008 12:37 PM - Chris Etheridge
I added a photo gallery from the first couple of days of camp. The number of players still stands at 20 and they had a pretty solid practice this morning.  I came into the MetroCentre this morning as Jared Schomburg was running the team through a bunch of drills in the hallways around 9:15. They were off the ice by about 11:30.

Look for another round of players to join the team maybe as early as after tonight's exhibition game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. After two games under their belt, tonights match-up could be a deciding factor for many of the guys sitting on the fence between the NHL and AHL.  It looks like former Rockford IceHogs winger Troy Brouwer, who has had two points in two games so far, is really catching the eye of some reporters up in the big house.

I wanted to break down the camp by the numbers a little bit. Here goes:

Of the 20 skaters in camp so far, 12 are forwards, six are defensemen and two are goalies. 12 were born in Canada, while six are American and one each from Ukraine (Igor Gongalsky) and Sweden (Adam Hobson). Peter MacArthur (Clifton Park) and Mike Brennan (Smithtown) are both from New York, but it turns out that Ryan Murphy (Rumson, N.J.) actually grew up closer to Brennan than MacArthur did. And it looks like Rumson is just across the Navesink River from Middletown, N.J. where former coach Mike Haviland grew up. Don't ask me to prounce Navesink.

11 players have AHL experience and 14 have pro experience, with Danny Groulx having the most ice time (386 games) in the pros.   Two are coming straight from the WHL's Spokane Chiefs (Judd Blackwater and Trevor Glass) Memorial Cup championship season. That's Bill Peters' former team. And Adam Hobson also had Peters as his head coach in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Kenny Bernard, Kenny MacAulay and Igor Gongalsky all played with Fresno (ECHL), Rockford's new affiliate, in 2007-08.

10 skaters developed through the college system, while the other 10 came up through juniors. While they were opponents in college, Nathan Davis and Brennan played on the same National U-18 team for two years (2002-03 and 2003-04). Mike Peck wrote yesterday about how Dan Bertam and Bennan were college teammates. MacAulay and Joe Fallon played for the University of Vermont Catamounts for three seasons together (Fallon is a year younger than MacAulay).

One final odd note: Rob Klinkhammer and J.C.Sawyer share the same birthday (Aug. 12, 1986). Also Glass (Jan. 22), Murphy (Jan. 23) and Brennan (Jan. 24) will celebrate their birthdays three days apart, while MacArthur (June 20), Judd Blackwater (June 22) and Groulx (June 23) are four days apart.

That's enough for today.

Camp Opens

09/27/2008 1:13 PM - Mike Peck
Today marked the first day of training camp and it seemed a little different than seasons past. First, it was over 80-degrees outside when practice started, so that cool crisp air signifying fall wasn’t there (not that I am complaining!)
Next, the actual practice didn’t look like a typical training camp. There were only 20 skaters on the ice and most of them were guys who are in Rockford on a try-out basis and will more than likely begin the year at the AA level. Fresno was represented well as both coaches were there as were six players who are currently under contract with the Falcons.
Finally, practice lasted just over an hour, also a bit unusual for the first day of camp. Each coach has a different philosophy on how they conduct their camp and coach Peters’ first day of camp was intense and to the point. 
A couple of bacon bits from camp:
-Mike Radja was wearing a full cage as a result of getting hit in the mouth during the Red and White Event last Sunday. I heard Dan Bertram chipped a few teeth as well.
-For the second straight season former UHL IceHogs skater Erick Lizon is in IceHogs camp
-A popular post-practice player for the media was Ryan Nie. If his name sounds familiar that’s because he was the goalie for the Kalamazoo Wings when the UHL IceHogs beat them in the Colonial Cup Finals back in 2007. 
-The only regular from last season’s club to skate in camp Saturday was Adam Berti. Everyone else is still in Chicago. Overall, there were five players on the ice who played in Rockford last season. Including Berti, the other four are Adam Hobson, Kenny MacAulay, J.C. Sawyer and Brennan Turner. Those five players combined for 92 games with Rockford in 2007-08.
-The NCAA was represented well. Radja was an All-American skater last season at the University of New Hampshire. Nathan Davis was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist two seasons ago at Miami (Ohio) University. Betram and Mike Brennan were members of last season’s National Champion Boston College club. Peter MacArthur led Boston University in scoring last season. And Joe Fallon finished his fourth season at the University of Vermont as the school’s top rated goalie.  In essence, it was like an NCAA All-Star Game!
Finally, expect the next round of cuts to be made in Chicago sometime within the next day or two. Anywhere from six-nine players could be assigned to Rockford’s camp. That will make IceHogs camp look like a normal camp again.
Stayed tuned for more soon!