Jimmy Hayes is being given a shot at the center position in Rockford. The IceHogs lead the AHL in penalties and dropped a pair of games this weekend.
The Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate in Rockford has been struggling with penalties in their first dozen games of the 2012-13 season. IceHogs coach Ted Dent is getting a little tired of it.
Dent is feeling the frustration that comes with giving the opposition power play opportunities. The IceHogs are the most penalized team in the league, having racked up 320 minutes in this area.
Chris Block of TheThirdManIn.com tweeted Saturday night following Rockford's 4-2 loss to Milwaukee that the team held a 15-minute closed-door meeting. The subject of penalties may well have been addressed after the team dropped both games this weekend.
It’s killing us for sure. We lead the league in minor penalties. We talk about it, and we have a fine system in place. The guys are losing money out of their pockets when they take undisciplined penalties. We’re trying everything we can to minimize it.
The visiting Admirals converted on a cross check penalty by Rob Flick early in the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Minutes later, Ryan Stanton was called for charging. As the penalty expired, Milwaukee got one by Alec Richards to go up 3-1. Half a minute later, Austin Watson beat Richards to make it 4-1.
Rockford got a nice goal from a falling Jeremy Morin to close out the scoring, but once again the IceHogs were in the role of playing from behind. It's a position Rockford knows well, having been down two or more goals in each of its last four contests.
Not surprisingly, the IceHogs are 1-3 in that span. Friday night saw the Grand Rapids Griffins skate away to a 5-3 win as Rockford fell behind 4-2 in the second period.
With the losses, Rockford fell to 5-6-0-1 this season and into fourth place in the Midwest Division standings. The IceHogs are 11th in the AHL's Western Conference.
Beach Accepts Award In Street Clothes: Last weekend was a big one for forward Kyle Beach. This one, not so much.
Beach was given a game-misconduct for an illegal check to the head in the second period of Friday's game in Grand Rapids. Furthermore, Beach was handed a one-game suspension. As a result, Beach was out of action for Saturday night when the team presented him with his CCM/AHL Player Of The Week award.
On a side note, Beach's younger brother Cody made his AHL debut with the Peoria Rivermen this week. In his first game, he delivered a check to the head of an opponent and was suspended for two games. Both Beach brothers will be eligible to participate when Peoria comes to the BMO Center Wednesday night.
Jimmy In The Middle: Saturday saw Jimmy Hayes at center for the fourth straight game. The Blackhawks have apparently decided to see what the big forward can do in the middle despite Hayes being on the wing for his college and pro tenure.
Hayes has a goal and three assists as a center. Block reported that Dent was asked for his assessment of the experiment. Dent's answer was as follows:
We're 1-3. So, that's my assessment.
Not a glowing response, but if the organization wants to test drive Hayes in the middle, Dent will have to go along with it.
Pirri Adds To Goal Total: Brandon Pirri has a five-game point streak broken Friday, but took a pass from Pete LeBlanc into the Admirals zone in the first period Saturday. Pirri hesitated to allow a shooting lane, then wristed the puck top-shelf on Jeremy Smith for the score.
Pirri now leads the IceHogs with five goals and is also tops in points with eleven.