Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two more Wolves signings a Pohl and a Doell returns!

They have been busy boys and girls at the Wolves office this week. On Tuesday forward Jonny Pohl was signed by the team. Pohl should be a familiar face and name to Wolves fans. Despite spending last season dividing his time between the Swedish Elites and the Swiss league. Pohl comes to us after a long tenure with Toronto Marlies, including being named team Most Valuable Player of 2005. If memory serves correctly he is a “physical “ player and will be a factor near the net.

Kevin Doell is back! Yesterday team management announced that Doell had inked a team contract. This is good news indeed, for this guy has a heart three times his size and will add not only depth but to team chemistry. Kevin Doell came to the Wolves as a skinny kid looking for all the world like every bodies little brother. During his first season with Gwinnette he broke his jaw, twice. Hockey has not been easy for him, still he persevered and changed from that skinny kid to the 5'11” 190 lbs of solid player he is today. After the 08' championship season Doell signed with a Swedish team and spent a year in the land of the midnight sun. Their loss is our gain, welcome back Kevin, the fans missed you, it will be good to see #21 with your name on it again.

Lastly an old Wolf, Andy Delmore ,another member of the 08' Calder Cup Championship team signed a contract for the 09' season yesterday with the Detroit RedWings. Fair play and good luck to him!

Toronto Marlie Tim Stapleton Dons Wolf's clothing

Chicago Wolves may well have another local player in the line up when the season opens in October. Tuesday the Atlanta Thrashers reached terms with La Grange native, Tim Stapleton of the Toronto Maple Leafs . Two things I like about this addition to the stable, first the 79 points he got last year accompanied by the 26 penalty minutes, not bad. His two years with the Jokerit team of Helsinki, one of the finest in Finland.

Looks like a good move to these eyes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Belfast Giant Sheds Teal for Red, David Phillips Signs as an IceHog!

It was announced to day by Rockford IceHogs team management that defenseman David Phillips has been signed to a one year AHL contract with the club. It was first reported here that Phillips a Belfast Giant, would be attending the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp earlier this month. Obviously the young Englishman impressed for he will be around to carry the flag for British hockey program in Rockford for the next season.

Meanwhile back in Belfast it was announced this last week that David's older brother, Kevin Phillips, would be taking his own place on the Belfast Giants blueline. Obviously Giants ownership sees what they like in the Phillips boys.

Photos of David Philips will be published at a later date.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cab Morris Blackhawk Eyes Are Upon Him!

This year work commitments kept me away from the Blackhawk Prospect Camp for it's first four days. My contact with the camp was purely as a photo editor of the thousands of images taken each day. It surprised me just how much I learned about each player simply by this form of observation . One of the players that impressed me most is Cab Morris the 17 year old goalie from Wilmette. Next season if you wish to see him in net he will be playing with the Indianapolis Ice who face the Chicago Steel in Bensonville. Blackhawk fans he is well worth a look.
One of the first things I noticed about Morris was the way other players gave him room on the ice, respect. This is coinage each player has to earn, epically difficult for an high school student going against tough college students and Canadian Major Junior veterans. Still the “the Kid” took no guff and gave as good as he got.
Cab Morris has a very unusual stance. Not so much of a butterfly but a powerful catchers squat, reminiscent of Thurman Munson. As we will have the chance to watch his development as a member of the Ice it will be easy to compare images of his stance and spot if coaching tinkers with his individual style for better or worse. This blog will not the the only set of eyes trained on young Morris you can bet Wade Flahrety Hawks goalie coach is keeping a close eye on his future prospect .

This is an image of a young goalie taking his crease and owning it.

Sit Down and Shut Up!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Waiting for the Call, Blackhawk Goalies....

Summer time and the hockey news slows down to a trickle between camps and contracts. This weeks flutter is the resigning by Wolves parent club the Atlanta Thrashers free agents Scott Lehman and Grant Lewis, two weeks ago goalie Kari Lehtonen inked his contract. Don't expect to see anyone of those names back in Chicago unless the injury bug bites and a reconditioning assignment comes our way.

The Hawks goalie situation still continues to fascinate me, with Nikolai Khabibulin out of the picture, Cristobal Huet, Antti Niemi, and Corey Crawford move up the roster. Both Niemi and Crawford are looking to star in the big show only one will get the call for the opening Hawks game. The Hawks organization has an embarrassment of riches in their stable goalie wise, tough choices will need to be made before it is decided who will be wearing the colors of Chicago or Rockford .

If anyone need reminding what the two top prospects to back up Cristobal Huet look like here are a few images of the boys from Rockford, Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi.


On a happy side note news has reached us that Mike Peck the voice of the Rockford Icehogs and "Mr Hockey " is back home and recovering with his family. Those of us at Powderhornhockey and it's sister blog Sit Down and Shut Up wish Mike and family a continued recovery and all good things. Including the Chicago style hot dog with the works he has requested.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Woops Joel Kwiakowski "Forgot" about That Pesky Russian Deal...

It looks like Joel Kwiakowski will not be skating for either Chicago or Atlanta next season. As he was negotiating with the Thrashers it seems he forgot about a preexisting Russian contract. His Russian team owners have no intention of letting him out of his deal with the Russian leagues. Sorry Joel, it's back to Mother Russia for you!

Dancing at Blackhawk Prospect Camp

This week hopeful young men gathered in downtown Chicago answering the siren call of the Indian Head, the National Hockey Leagues Chief Black Hawk and all he represents. The object of a prospect camp is for players aged 17 and up to strut their stuff and impress the coaches of the host team. You can smell the hunger of these young men in the air, it makes for some pretty exciting hockey, for sure.

Just a few of these players will be offered a contract with either the NHL Blackhawks or with the AHL IceHogs. For most the camp is about assessment, information and next year. After five days of playing before the Blackhawks coaches the players then meet with Hawks staff for an “exit interview”. This is where they are told if they have made the team but also what they need to do to take their game to the next level. Invaluable information for a young athlete, looking to improve their personal best and and what that will bring to the table for future prospect camps.

As a first posting from camp here are some images of an encounter between Paul Phillips(#28) and Zach Cohen (# 47) these two players looked like they wanted to dance all day!

A friend of this blog, Mike Peck known as "Voice of the IceHogs" is in hospital recovering from a heart problem. Peck collapsed while interviewing a player at the United Center as part of Prospect Camp coverage. CPR was given on site and he was transported to Stroger Hospital where he is listed in Critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and his family for a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Atlanta Signs Two More, Kwiatkowski returns to the line up and Drew McIntyre comes aboard.

The goalie round up for Atlanta starts now, Ondrej Pavelec Chicago's Calder Cup winning goalie in 2008 just got some competition for his position as primary Wolves goalie,that is, if he wants it. This week Atlanta signed Drew McIntyre one of the most well traveled goalies in the AHL. McIntyre had his first professional start with the infamous Toledo Storm as part of the Redwings System. He then received the call up to the Grand Rapids Griffins and was a crowd favorite with the Manitoba Moose during his tenure there. Finally moving on to Milwaukee last season where he lead the Admirals to last months Calder Cup semi finals. This looks to be a good signing, talented goalie with a solid record. However, I have my nose in the air for a goalie trade in the near future, too much talent standing around for there not to be one in the wind.

The second signing brings the return of Joel Kwiatkowski or Kiwi as he is known among fans. Kwiatkowski spent the last year playing in the European Elites and it is good to have him back again playing on home ice again. Like Jason Krog who rejoined the Atlanta system last week he was part of the 08' Calder Cup Championship team. With John Anderson now the Atlanta coach he will first be given a solid look to see if he fits their needs. We will know if the happy reunion that seems to be developing in Atlanta will stay in Blueland or move north in October. Only John Anderson will be able to enlighten us on that subject.

Links to the stories :


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jason Krog Signs with Atlanta!


I would like t thank my fellow posters at for tipping me off to this story on a holiday.

This is good news indeed Jason Krog, linchpin of the 08'Calder Cup Championship season has been signed to a 2 year contract by the Atlanta Thrashers. The bad news for Wolves fans is that don't expect to see him in a Wolves uniform. With John Anderson firmly installed as head coach in Atlanta you can bet he is going to want to keep his American Hockey League MVP close and not send him north to to enrich the Chicago goal stats.
Take heart Wolves fans, any player or move that keeps the parent club winning,healthy and happy bodes well for the farm team. Fewer call ups and a more stable line up dramatically increase chances for a return to the winning Wolves of years past.

Put one tic in the optimistic column for this years Wolves season for moi!

It's Summertime, That means Player Valentines!

One of the advantages of following minor leagues is that players can be followed from age 16 or 17 until they make it to the big show with the National Hockey league. One such player that that has has been under the gaze of my camera lens has been 22 year old Chad Denny. He first came to my attention at Traverse City during the Red Wing Rookie Tournament along with another big guy Boris Valabik. Unlike Valibik who was of age and started immediately with the Wolves Denny was 18 and returned to his Major Junior team the Lewiston Maineiacs for another year of seasoning.

What sets this 6'3” Canadian apart from the heard is not his killer wrist shot it is his spirit. He plays with the heart of a kid on a back yard pond. After bouncing between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League for two years he still plays with his heart on his sleeve. One can only hope he will never loose it to the hard knocks of the game. This will be his last year of his rookie contract with Atlanta, so far he seems to have spent most of his time with the Gwinnette Gladiators rather than with the Wolves. When he has been in Chicago he has been left warming the bench rather than seeing regular ice time. It begs the question just what is Wolves Coach Granato thinking keeping such an aggressive player muzzled. Were I to bump into the coach tonight at his favorite haunt that is exactly one of the questions I would ask him.