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Dan Cloutier In The Goalie Mix

11/30/2009 4:35 PM - Mike Peck
A little bit of insight on the goalie situation going on here in Rockford:  I know a lot of fans are probably wondering why Alec Richards was sent down despite two pretty decent games with the IceHogs.  Corey Crawford will be out a little longer than expected and I’m sure Chicago wants an NHL ready goalie here in Rockford.

Joe Fallon has been outstanding since taking over for the injured Crawford in the #1 slot.  Fallon went 4-2-1-0 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average in November.  But one thing Fallon lacks is experience and the Blackhawks can’t afford too many bumps in the road as they should be fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference all season long.

That’s where Dan Cloutier comes in. Cloutier didn’t play last season and was currently unemployed, but reports I got said he had a very strong camp in Detroit this fall. Obviously a long shot to make the Red Wings, Cloutier is now getting an opportunity here in Rockford and is some good insurance for the Blackhawks if something were to happen to Cristobal Huet or Antti Niemi.

Cloutier was a top five goalie in the NHL in the mid-2000’s while playing with the Vancouver Canucks. He was the first Canucks goalie ever to record three straight 30 win seasons. To put 30 wins in perspective for you, only once in Rockford’s first 10 seasons has a goalie ever won 30 games as Michel Robinson won 33 with the 2004-05 UHL IceHogs.

I like the fact that the organization is taking their time with Crawford. He needs to get back to 100% (he has been nagged with injury since last season) and put him into the best possible position to succeed.

I know for some reason a lot of IceHogs fans have been down on Crawford, but he has been as steady as any goalie over the past two-plus seasons in the AHL.  During his time in Rockford Crawford has a 2.64 goals against average and a .913 save percentage while playing in more games than any goalie in team history other then J.F. Rivard. He also has won 56% of the games he’s played.

Thanksgiving in Grand Rapids

11/28/2009 3:33 PM - Mike Peck
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Family, Food and Football!  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Well this season I spent it on a bus on the way to Grand Rapids. It wasn’t all that bad, especially since we got a good Thanksgiving Day dinner in when we got to Grand Rapids. I did miss spending it with my family though.

We had all the fixings at dinner and it was interesting talking to some of the players about the holiday. We think of food, family and football when we think about Thanksgiving. About the only constant for hockey players is the football.

Many of them aren’t going to cook a full-blown turkey dinner and it is rare for these guys to get the chance to spend Thanksgiving with family because of the schedule.  So a couple of the guys that I spoke with said that this was one of the better Thanksgiving’s they’ve had over the past few years.

The team has now put together four straight very strong performances which is a great sign. Despite just a 2-1-1-0 record over that span of games, the results are starting to come. Friday’s win in Grand Rapids is proof as the Griffins had only lost one of their 10 home games before the IceHogs knocked them off 4-3.

Joe Fallon will be back in goal on Saturday against Abbotsford for Rockford.  Below are some more notes for Saturday’s game against the Heat.

First Time Winner: Goalie Alec Richards earned his first career AHL win last night when he turned away 27 Grand Rapids shots in Rockford’s 4-3 victory at Van Andel Arena. The loss was just the second of the season at home for Grand Rapids.  Joe Fallon also picked up his first career AHL win this season on Oct. 11 at Toronto. 

Lighting Up The Greentree: Winger Kyle Greentree has tallied goals in back-to-back games for the IceHogs after getting held to just one marker in his first 14 contests. Greentree ranked second in the AHL a season ago with 39 goals while skating with the Quad City Flames.

Catch You Later: The IceHogs and Heat conclude their four-game season series tonight at the Rockford MetroCentre. Abbotsford is the first opponent against which the IceHogs will complete its season set.  After three games, Rockford is 2-1-0-0 against the Heat including 1-0-0-0 at the MetroCentre.

Mac Attack: Winger Pete MacArthur recorded his second multi-point game of the season last night in Grand Rapids and shows six points (2g-4a) in his last nine games since returning from injury