Chicago Blackhawks prospect Brandon Saad has not started the 2012-13 season in the fashion he probably wanted to. Starting the season as a member of the Rockford IceHogs, Saad has found the going a lot tougher than many anticipated.
Saad, who started and ended the season with the 'Hawks and figured to be in their plans as soon as this season, celebrated his 20th birthday in Grand Rapids on Saturday night as a scratch for the fourth straight game. Saad's inactivity stretched to five games when he was held out of Sunday's game with San Antonio.
Chris Block of thethirdmanin.com tweeted that both Saad and Nick Leddy were nursing injuries. Block learned from Rockford coach Ted Dent following the IceHogs 3-1 win on Sunday that Saad (leg) is to begin skating this week.
A head injury is ailing Leddy at the moment, though the extent of the problem has not been revealed. Leddy is day-to-day after apparently suffering the injury in Thursday's shootout victory over the Rampage.
Saad is still looking for his first points in Rockford, while Leddy had three assists in six games with the IceHogs.
High On The Hog
After dropping their first four games, the IceHogs have come back to win four in a row. After getting their first win of the 2012-13 season last Sunday night, Rockford has started playing winning hockey.
Thursday saw the IceHogs drop San Antonio 2-1 in a shootout. Saturday was a 6-5 overtime triumph in Grand Rapids, and then Rockford beat the Rampage for the second time in four days, winning 3-1on Sunday. The team rallied from behind on Thursday and Saturday and took advantage of some timely goals to prevail.
The Chicago Wolves, who swept the IceHogs to open the season, visit this Friday as Rockford attempts to catch the Midwest Division leaders. The Wolves have 11 points this season to Rockford's nine.
Pirri Rolling Again
Brandon Pirri, last year's leading scorer, looks to be picking up where he left off in the spring. Pirri netted the game-winner in overtime on Saturday and assisted on Ben Smith's goal on Sunday.
He now has three goals and four assists so far in 2012-13. He also leads the team with a plus-four skater rating. Pirri's seven points are tied with Martin St. Pierre for the team lead, as are his three goals.
Hutton Finally Getting Goal Support
Carter Hutton was in net for Rockford's three wins this week. Though he gave up five goals on Saturday in Grand Rapids, he was terrific against the Rampage. After giving up a goal 45 seconds into Thursday's game, Hutton stonewalled San Antonio and turned away every shooter he faced in the shootout.
Hutton is now 3-3-0-1 on the young season. He sports a 2.25 GAA and a .925 save percentage.
Despite allowing three power-play goals to Grand Rapids Saturday night, Rockford is still killing penalties at an 88-percent rate. That includes Sunday's effort, which saw the IceHogs turn away seven San Antonio chances in a penalty-heavy game.
The power-play offense isn't faring as well as the penalty killers, though, with Rockford hitting on just 10 percent of its chances so far.