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Camp Lite

09/26/2011 8:38 AM - Mike Peck
Sunday marked the official opening of Rockford IceHogs training camp and to say that it was a “light” workout would be an understatement.

As of practice time Sunday (which was 1:30 p.m.), there were 28 players on Rockford’s training camp roster. Of those 28 skaters, 14 of them skated Sunday.

Now there was a method behind the madness, or lack of participants. All 14 players who participated were players who did not attended Blackhawks Training Camp. So Sunday was an opportunity for these guys to get on the ice and get a team skate in before Monday’s full practice. They were all try-out and AHL contracted players, so it was nice for them to get some ice time before practicing with players who have been on the ice for over a week now.

The roster will grow on Monday as it’s expected more cuts are on the way from Chicago.

It’s great to see the ice in and some action in the locker room. It’s been a long summer (but a good one!) and I am ready for some hockey.

A little side observation about the Blackhawks popularity right now…If you judge a team’s popularity or relevance by the amount of apparel worn in public, I’d say that the Blackhawks have a pretty good grip on this market.

I was out at Edward’s Apple Orchard on Saturday, and the easily most worn logo was the Blackhawks. More than the Bears, Packers, Cubs, Bulls or White Sox. And it wasn’t even close. Blackhawks gear was all over the place and it was great to see! I even saw some IceHogs garb floating around.

Now I know merchandise isn’t the best way to gauge a team’s popularity, but it was cool seeing so many people sporting Hawks and IceHogs stuff.

Back to IceHogs camp for second…Monday’s practice is getting split into two sessions because of the amount of players in camp. Once again, I can’t confirm how many above and beyond the 28 that were in camp on Sunday, but the coaching staff thought it would be best if there were two sessions.

Monday and Tuesday will probably be the longest two days for the boys leading into Wednesday preseason tilt at Carlson.

I’ll check back in later. In the meantime, checkout our Facebook page for photos from Sunday’s first day at camp.

Hockey Season Is Finally Upon Us

09/22/2011 3:40 PM - Mike Peck
Everyone here is really stressed out with deadlines looming and long hours in the office. That must mean that hockey season is here!

The ice is going in. The new dasher boards have been, for the most part, installed. And a few areas of the arena have even received a nice, new coat of paint.

New-Dashers.pngI included a picture of the new dasher board system for you to check out before the ice started going in. Unfortunately I haven’t had a whole lot of time to blog lately, but once the season gets started, I’ll contribute a little more.

A few thoughts on training camp. It should be a very competitive camp as there are a lot of guys coming in with AHL experience. Depending on what happens in Chicago, there really might not be a whole lot of spots open in Rockford.

But with that being said, here are a few players to keep an eye on:

Darcy Campbell (D): Played two full AHL season with Syracuse and Lake Erie from 2007-09 and spent last season with Rio Grande Valley (CHL). If he doesn’t make the team out of training camp, he could be a call-up guy this season.

Kevin Harvey (LW): Harvey is a big, tough forward that will be one of the heavy hitters in the ECHL this season. If Rockford needs a spark on the physical side, Harvey could be their guy. He had 265 PIMs with Syracuse in 2009-10 to go along with 5g-7a-12pts.

Harrison Reed (RW):
Has played 174 AHL games going back to 2008-09 with Albany and Lake Erie. Only has 19 points, but is a solid defensive forward, and like Campbell, could be a call-up guy this season.

Brandon Svendsen (LW): With a Swedish name like that, you’d think he’d be a shoe-in in Rockford!  Svendeson played in 61 games with Bridgeport a season ago and 71 during his rookie campaign in 2009-10. Out of all the training camp invitees, he might have the best chance at sticking around.

Training camp does get started on Sunday and depending on how cuts in Chicago go, a good chuck (maybe even the majority) of the players in camp for Day 1 probably won’t be around for the IceHogs opener on Oct. 8.

The above mentioned invitees, along with the other non-contracted players will be battling guys like Paul Zanette, Ben Youds and Peter LeBlanc for a spot on Rockford’s opening day roster.

Another compelling story line in camp is going to be the goaltending situation. The story, of course, all starts in Chicago with whoever wins the back-up job behind Corey Crawford. Right now, Alec Richards and Carter Hutton are penciled in the goalie slots with the IceHogs, but if Ray Emery impresses in Chicago camp, Alexander Salak could be here.

Stay tuned!