For the fifth consecutive year, the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs showcased the talents of some very good dogs during their Pucks & Paws Night.
Fans were encouraged to bring their pups to BMO Harris Bank Center for the game against the San Antonio Rampage. There were dogs available for adoption and one special pup even got to do the honors for the ceremonial face-off before the game.
So as to not show up the very good dogs, the IceHogs lost 6-0, making the highlight of the evening the highly-anticipated Wiener Dog Race:
The winner of the race was Darby, a very, very good dog, who was focused on the task at hand and took the crown for the second straight year.
If we were running the Dog Rates Twitter account during the game, these pups were easily be worth a 13/10 rating. Easily.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
Saturday featured quite a few instances in which teams cut their training camp rosters down to size, and the Chicago Blackhawks were no exception.
The standout name was Jan Hejda, who was released from professional tryout contract. Forward Tanner Kero also couldn’t make the grade, yet he’ll just go the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Hejda, 37, enjoyed a better outlook when he initially received that PTO back on Sept. 12.
Since then, Chicago bolstered its lineup with full contracts (re-signing Michal Rozsival) and added a PTO defenseman with arguably more in the tank in Lubomir Visnovsky.
At his advanced age, it’s anyone’s guess if Hejda lands with another NHL team or if he’ll need to settle for a job in the AHL or overseas.
If nothing else, the thick resume he brought to Chicago helps his chances of finding work somewhere else.
As CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers notes, the Blackhawks’ training camp roster is now down to 36 players.
The Chicago Blackhawks have come to terms with forward Dennis Rasmussen on a one-year contract.
Rasmussen spent the 2014-15 season with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs scoring 13 goals and 27 points in 73 games.
The Blackhawks signed Rasmussen to a one-year, entry-level contract worth $925,000 last June after his third season with Vaxjo HC of the Swedish Hockey League.
Ciampini, Visentin sign one-year deals with Rockford
Forward Daniel Ciampini and goaltender Mark Visentin have signed one-year American Hockey League deals with Rockford, the club announced.
Ciampini completed his fourth season at Union College leading the Dutchmen with 26 goals and 50 points in 39 games during the 2014-15 season. The 24-year-old signed an amateur tryout contract with the Worcester Sharks in March and scored three goals and six points in 15 AHL games.
Visentin was a first-round pick (27th overall) by the Arizona Coyotes at the 2010 NHL Draft. He missed the entire 2014-15 season due to injury. Visentin turned pro with the Portland Pirates during the 2012-13 season. In 45 games with Portland during the 2013-14 season, Visentin posted a 14-19-6 record to go along with a 3.25 G.A.A. and a .902 save percentage.
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Waterdown, Ontario native made his NHL debut with the Coyotes in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on April 12, 2014.
Pending unrestricted free agent Peter Regin has signed a one-year deal with Jokerit in the KHL.
Regin was on a one-year $650,000 contract with the Chicago Blackhawks this season.
The 29-year-old appeared in four games with the ‘Hawks registering an assist.
Regin also played in 69 regular season games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League scoring 10 goals and 31 assists. He added three points in five Calder Cup playoff games.
Originally a third-round selection (87th overall in 2004) of the Senators, Regin appeared in 243 regular season NHL games with Ottawa, the New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks registering 23 goals and 67 points.
Jokerit’s roster features a number of former NHLers including Linus Omark, Niko Kapanen, Niklas Hagman Jere Karalahti and Ossi Vaananen.
Steve Moses, the club’s leading goal-scorer this season, recently signed a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators.
The Chicago Blackhawks wealth in goal has been well documented this season.
While starter Corey Crawford was sidelined both Antti Raanta and Scott Darling stepped in and proved to be NHL-ready netminders.
Raanta is 7-3-0 with a 1.87 G.A.A. and a .939 save percentage this season while Darling is 5-2-0 with a 1.97 G.A.A. and a .937 save percentage.
Darling has spent a bulk of the season in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs where he has an 11-6-2 record to go along with a 2.13 G.A.A. and a .931 save percentage.
“I think you need that,” general manager Stan Bowman told the Chicago Sun-Times. “If you look around the league, the majority of teams have used three goalies this year. There’s only a couple teams that are just going with their two.
“That’s an area we haven’t had a lot of depth in in the past, and we got through it. But in the future, we’d like to have three goalies that you know can play in the NHL. It’s worked out great this year, and even Michael Leighton’s been dynamite in Rockford, so we really have four goalies that could easily come and play on any night.”
With the trade deadline fast approaching and Darling a pending restricted free agent, Bowman has no intention to use Darling as an asset in a trade.
“He’s a Chicago kid, I know he wants to be with us,” Bowman said. “We’ll get that worked out. I think it’s nice to see that our hopes for him ended up playing out the way we had hoped.”
Leighton, a pending unrestricted free agent, is 3-0-2 with a 0.89 G.A.A. and a .974 save percentage this month with the IceHogs.