WIth the Champs For Charity Game and the Rockford IceHogs there was plenty of Blackhawks on the ice over the weekend, despite the lockout.
Friday night I got to the chance to attend the Champs For Charity game at the Allstate Arena. It turned out to be about what I expected, a fun night with not much actual hockey being played. I wish this was something they did every year right before training camp because it is a good way to get excited for some hockey. It was a major buzzkill to walk out after a fun night to realize you probably are not going see these NHL stars on the ice for a long time.
The bad included watching hockey in very slow motion. The defensive pairing of James Wisniewski and Jim Vandermeer gave me nightmares. Speaking of nightmares, the emcee pairing of Tom Shear and Jessie Rogers was down right awful. The worst part of the night was knowing that Andrew Ladd has to go back to Winnipeg. God I miss that guy in Chicago!
The good included seeing a goalie on goalie penalty shot which Niklas Backstrom converted with a nice wrist shot. There were some good goal celebrations including Jonathan Toews knocking down his line mates like bowling pins, an entire line row bow celebration and an Adam Burish striptease a'la Slap Shot. There was fun "fight" between Daniel Carcillo and the Chicago coach Ryan Dempster. The best part was that 11.646 fans raised $323,500 for Ronald McDonald House. That made me very proud to be a Blackhawks fan.
The Rockford IceHogs had themselves a nice weekend as well. They took on the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Scum's farm team, up in Michigan. The Hogs fell behind 3-1 midway through the 2nd period but roared back to force the game into overtime tied at 5. Brandon Pirri's 3rd goal of the season, just 58 seconds into the extra session, brought home the victory for Rockford. Ben Smith (1), Marcus Kruger (3), Jimmy Hayes (3), Kyle Beach (1) and Andrew Shaw (1) all scored in regulation. Shawn Lalonde (1,2), Pirri (2,3), Shaw (3), Ryan Stanton (2), Martin St. Pierre (5), Joe Lavin (3) and Hayes (1) all added assists. Carter Hutton made 28 saves to pickup his second victory of the season.
Yesterday the IceHogs returned home and carried over the momentum from Saturday's win to beat the San Antonio Rampage 3-1 at the BMO Center. The IceHogs struck first, just 1:42 into the game, when Ben Smith scored for the second straight game. Martin St. Pierre's unassisted goal, his second of the year, at the 7:28 mark of the middle period proved to be the game winner. Adam Clendening's first goal of the year gave the Hogs some insurance early the in the 3rd. Jeremy Morrin, who missed a penalty late in the 2nd period, had two assists (2,3). Brandon Pirri (4) and Smith (1) also had assists for the Hogs. Hutton stopped 23 of 24 shots for his 3rd win of the year. The IceHogs are now 4-3-0-1 and just 2 points behind the first place Chicago Wolves in the Midwest Division.
Now that the baseball playoffs are over I really need to take up a new sport to fill the void left by the stupid NHL lockout. Yes, we have the Bears but that is only one day a week. I need something to watch during the week and it sure as hell is not going to be basketball! Anyone know of a channel that carries competitive curling? I did watch some of the GAA championship game last month and that was kind of fun. When does that start up again? I might just have to breakdown and finally learn to watch soccer. Heaven help us!