|(Greg Hamil/Rockford IceHogs)|
1st Star: C Brandon Pirri, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 2GP, 1G, 4A, +3 plus/minus
The IceHogs fell short of a playoff spot despite a valiant push in April, winning eight of nine contests this month. Brandon Pirri, who led Rockford offensively down the stretch with 19 points (3G, 16A) over that span, captured the club’s first-ever John. B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s leading scorer with a career-high 75 points (22G, 53A) in 76 games. The Blackhawks’ second-round draft pick in 2009 logged a goal and two assists on Friday in a 9-4 win at San Antonio, then added a pair of helpers the next night in a 5-3 come-from-behind victory at Texas.
It's Pat Foley night! In celebration of his special night, here are five things about the legendary Blackhawks broadcaster that you need to know.
1. The “BAANNER-MAAAN” call. Watch it. Know it.
It’s one of Pat Foley’s most famous calls. Make sure you’ve listened to this beauty.
Every week, the Blackhawks Blog will feature fan tweets that reply to our official Twitter account @NHLBlackhawks mixed in with the tweets from some Blackhawks themselves! Send us your thoughts on the Blackhawks’ players, games and more, and you could be a contributor to our next Tweet Sheet.
|(Greg Hamil/Rockford IceHogs)|
1st Star: C Ben Smith, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 2GP, 4G, 2A, +4 plus/minus
In an injury-plagued season, Ben Smith has nevertheless provided Rockford with an offensive boost whenever he’s in the lineup. Case in point: After missing seven games, Smith returned with a vengeance, netting his first career hat trick and adding an assist in the IceHogs’ 7-3 win over Chicago on April 12. The next night, in Milwaukee, Smith lit the lamp again, notching his second consecutive game-winner.
|(Photo courtesy St. Cloud State)|
1. Majored in math education (and minored in coaching), following in the footsteps of his father, who is also a math teacher. Part of the reason LeBlanc returned to St. Cloud State for a red-shirt fifth college season was so that he could finish his degree. He fulfilled his student-teaching requirement by taking charge of three algebra classes at nearby St. Cloud Apollo High School.
1b. LeBlanc's professional commitments kept him from growing out his hair to an untamed length as part of the Huskies' year-long Locks of Love campaign this past season.
2. The compound leg fracture that ended LeBlanc's 2011-12 season kept him off the ice, but it didn't keep him away from the team. He rolled himself to practice in a wheelchair after surgery, and later pulled an exercise bike next to the rink so that he could ride along while his teammates practiced.
3. Became the first St. Cloud State player to ever win the Hobey Baker Award after captaining the Huskies to the program's first-ever Frozen Four appearance. LeBlanc led the entire nation with 37 assists last season, and he was named WCHA Player of the Year. LeBlanc's excellence also extended to his academics, as he was named a WCHA Scholar-Athlete in four consecutive years, just the fifth player in school history to do so and the first to hold both college association honors at the same time.
4. LeBlanc was known for donning the No. 19 jersey for St. Cloud State (in honor of his hockey idol, Steve Yzerman); the number is obviously not available to him here in Chicago, and neither is the No. 29 jersey he wore during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. So he will wear No. 14, which has been inhabited by former Blackhawks Doug Bentley, Bill Gardner, Greg Gilbert and Ab McDonald.
5. The Hermantown, Minn., native is no stranger to Chicago. LeBlanc played for the USHL's Chicago Steel from 2006-08, recording 19 goals and 40 assists in 72 games before heading off to college.
Each week, the Blackhawks Blog will give you five stats you need to know about the Blackhawks this season.
1. Brandon Saad ranks third among league rookies in points (23) and shares second in assists (14).
The Pittsburgh, Pa., native has 20 points (6G, 14A) in 14 of his last 20 contests and is tied for league-best among rookies with a plus-14 rating.
Don't adjust your televisions - that was, in fact, the Blackhawks' famous logo and colors on ABC's hit comedy "Modern Family."
The Emmy-winning series featured a Blackhawks banner on Wednesday's episode "Flip Flop," as real estate agent Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) and family tried to convince a Hawks fan to purchase a listing by customizing the home to the potential buyer's taste -- favorite team included.
This has been a season of sports streaks, with the Blackhawks setting two and aiming for another NHL mark.
The Hawks went 24 games to start a campaign without a regulation loss, earning at least a point in every contest. Ray Emery became the first NHL goalie to start a season with 12 straight victories.
Now the Hawks have a chance to set a new NHL mark for most points in a 48-game season—the previous high belongs to Boston, who recorded 74 points in 1938-39 on their way to the Stanley Cup. The last regular 48-game schedule was in 1941-42, although the labor-shortened campaign of 1994-95 saw Detroit rack up 70 points in 48 contests.
Reviewing the streaks that the four previous Chicago Stanley Cup winners enjoyed takes us back to 1933-34. That squad wound up 20-17-11 with a second-place finish in the American Division, and their longest string of wins was seven games (4-0-3). The Hawks were paced by goalie Charlie Gardiner, who beat both Montreal teams in the NHL back then (Canadiens and Maroons) before the team defeated Detroit for the Cup with a dramatic overtime goal in Game 4 of the best-of-five series.
The 1938 champions remain the only NHL team to claim the Cup with a losing regular-season record (14-25-9), doing so with a roster that boasted eight American-born players. They had just one modest three-game win streak. In the playoffs, they knocked off Montreal, then New York. In meeting the favored Maple Leafs for the finals, they had to use minor-league goalie Alfie Moore in the opener. Chicago won that game 3-1 and grabbed the Cup by winning the best-of-five series 3-1.
The 1960-61 winners were paced by Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and goalie Glenn Hall. They posted a 29-24-17 mark and had a seven-game win streak. In the playoffs, they upset the Canadiens in the semis as Hall shutout Montreal in the last two games and then dispatched Detroit in the finals.
The 2010 Cup champions set a franchise regular-season mark with 112 points in the standings (52-22-8) and enjoyed an eight-game win streak during the campaign. The playoff run saw the Hawks oust Nashville, Vancouver and then sweep San Jose before Patrick Kane's dramatic overtime goal in Philadelphia brought the Cup back to Chicago for the first time in 49 years.
With a record-breaking streak to start the season, the Hawks hope to carry momentum into the playoffs and bring the Cup back to their loyal fans!
|(Greg Hamil/Rockford IceHogs)|
1st Star: LW Rostislav Olesz, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 4GP, 4G, 2A, +6 plus/minus
Olesz, who was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week, spent most of the season rehabbing from an injury, but has sparked Rockford’s offense since rejoining the team in late March. Olesz registered a three-game point streak last week and logged two consecutive outings with two goals and an assist (April 5 at Milwaukee; April 6 at Peoria), including the game-winner in those two contests. Olesz also collected a helper on April 7, bringing his season total to 13 points (6G, 7A) in nine appearances.