I heard recently that the Rockford IceHogs were a damn good team. I'm still waiting to confirm with a source though.
Joking aside, I will have a little preview below on the ‘Hogs/Stars series that kicks off tonight but wanted to address all of the rumours (yes, I'm using the Canadian version now) that are out there regarding primarily Toews and Crawford.
Listen, anything can happen, but I don't see either guy moved. I will have an article coming out this off-season which will make a case to move certain players for the short-term and long-term success of this team but for now, I'll just warn everyone again to temper expectations on these trade talks.
A lot of the time, they are nothing more than conversations.
I have asked my contacts about these rumours and they haven't heard anything about those players specifically. It does sound like there will be more changes than Stan alluded as their disappointing season was coming to an end.
The one thing one of my guys told me was that "According to some in the organization and around the league, Stan swung and missed on his last off-season with those bold moves. You think he wants to make another error dealing someone in Toews, who is going to go down as one of the most famed players in Blackhawks history? Not saying he shouldn't deal someone from the core because of that fact alone, but he'll be out of a job if he tries to be as bold as last year and falls short again."
I personally think changes are coming, but I don't think they will involve anyone from the "old" core. I think Stan looks for 1-2 "wins" in free agency, touts his top 10 pick as the next great Blackhawks and tweaks with a couple trades for more role/young/fast players to appeal to Q's "relentless" appetite.
Now, on to the IceHogs; they take on the Texas Stars (obviously, the Dallas Stars farm team) with game #1 taking place on the road @ 7pm CST.
The ‘Hogs are KILLING it on special teams sitting at 15-40 with the man advantage and a 92.9% PK, which is best of all remaining teams.
The Stars are a respectable 17.2% on the PP and 85.7% short a man.
Texas has been led by a combination of veterans and younger players, similar to Rockford. In net, 35-year old Mike McKenna has been outstanding and is pacing the entire playoffs with 319 saves. Up front, there aren't a ton of names you will be familiar with but Brian Flynn, Curtis McKenzie (who ironically scored his 1st NHL goal against the Blackhawks in 2014) and Travis Morin.
The IceHogs took 3 out of 4 games in the regular season and look to continue that success after a long layoff between series'.
The rest of the schedule for this battle looks like this (all games in CST):
May 18th @ Texas – 7pm
May 20th @ Texas – 5pm
May 22nd @ Rockford – 7pm
May 24th @ Rockford – 7pm
May 25th @ Rockford – 7pm*
May 28th @ Texas – 7pm*
May 29th @ Texas – 7pm*
* if necessary
See ya out there!