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Ready For Some Hockey

02/04/2011 1:54 PM - Mike Peck
With the All-Star Break behind us, the busy stretch of the 2010-11 Rockford IceHogs schedule begins tonight in Milwaukee.  Rockford’s 45 games played are the least amount in the AHL and the club has as many as seven-games in-hand on some teams in the West Division.

Rockford averaged 2.65 games per week through the season’s first 17 weeks and will average 3.5 games per week during the final 10 weeks. The IceHogs haven’t played three-games in three nights yet this season. The first comes next week with a pair in Texas on Friday and Saturday and a Sunday matinee in Milwaukee.

Starting tonight, Rockford will play 14 games in the next 23 days running through Feb. 27.  March doesn’t get any better as the IceHogs will play 15 games in 28 days from March 2 through the 30th.

To further drive home the point, from today until the end of the regular season on April 10, Rockford will play 35 games in just 65 days. Rockford played their previous 35 games (dating back to Nov. 3) in 89 days, or 24 more days than the upcoming crammed schedule.

As for tonight, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith are still out for Rockford with upper body injuries. Smith could be back as early as Wednesday while Morin might be back when we head to Texas. The two healthy scratches are Shawn Lalonde and Igor Makarov.

Hannu Toivonen will get the start in net for the IceHogs, while I’d guess All-Star goalie Mark Dekanich will get the nod for Milwaukee.

With both teams coming off of the All-Star Break, there could be some rust tonight. Rockford did practice last night, so the team was able to get back on the ice before this morning’s skate. The practice last night was moved back to accommodate the guys who couldn’t get back into town because of the weather. Good thing the storm didn’t come a day later!