The Rockford IceHogs dominate their homestand, securing victories against Iowa and Grand Rapids with a remarkable 9-2 combined score. This outstanding performance propels them above a .500 winning percentage for the first time this season.
Rockford (3-2-0-0) showcases their offensive prowess, averaging nearly five goals per game at the start of the AHL season. While the Chicago Blackhawks struggle with a 3-5-0 record, the IceHogs display a commendable display of skill and discipline on both ends of the ice.
Cole Guttman plays a pivotal role in the team’s success. As last year’s Rookie of the Year for the Hogs, Guttman kicks off the season with a goal in Chicago and provides three assists in three games since returning to Rockford.
Although his stint in Chicago was brief, Guttman remains optimistic about his future. Reflecting on his achievement of scoring his first NHL goal in Pittsburgh, he expresses his determination to continue improving in Rockford, regardless of his location. His commitment and work ethic remain unwavering.
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‘Turn the page on last year’
Guttman, now standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing 181 pounds, emerged as one of the primary point scorers for the Hogs last season. Despite the shortened campaign, he notched 16 goals and contributed 14 assists—an impressive feat. Equally noteworthy is his performance during his call-up to the Blackhawks, where he made an impact by earning six points from four goals in 14 NHL games.
Guttman acknowledges the importance of leaving the past behind and focusing on the present season. He emphasizes the need to prove oneself continually, urging a fresh start and a determination to excel in the current year.
Last season, Guttman fought through a shoulder injury that occurred in November. Although he reinjured himself a month later, he underwent surgery in the offseason. Fortunately, he hasn’t faced limitations due to his shoulder since then.
Appeared to be a lock to be a Hawk
Guttman displayed exceptional skills during Blackhawks training camp and played on the third line alongside Tyler Johnson and Taylor Raddysh during NHL opening night. On October 10, he scored a crucial goal that tied the game at 2-2, initiating the Hawks’ impressive comeback and securing a 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh.
However, only two days later, Guttman returned to Rockford. Since then, he has been forging strong bonds with his new teammates.
Brett Seney capitalized on Guttman’s exceptional play by netting his fourth goal of the season. Thanks to Guttman’s expert faceoff win from the left circle, Seney received the puck wide open, leading to a goal. Later in the game, Guttman’s relentless determination enabled him to free the puck at mid-ice, allowing him to assist Joey Anderson in scoring an empty-net goal during their commanding 3-0 triumph.
How long will he be here?
The Hogs are set to face the Moose in Manitoba, Canada, for a two-game series scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Following this, they will return home for a matchup against the Texas Stars at 10:30 a.m. on November 8.
Guttman remains committed to helping the IceHogs secure victories while honing his skills for the next level. It remains uncertain how long he will stay in Rockford, as he could receive a call-up to the NHL at any moment or spend a significant amount of time with the IceHogs. This unpredictable season adds an air of excitement and potential at every level.
“Undoubtedly, the ultimate goal is to play in the NHL,” Guttman affirms. “Wherever I find myself, I will devote everything I have to succeed. I am here to win, and I want the IceHogs to win. I strive to be part of a winning team, and I will exhaust every effort to achieve that.”
Jay Taft is a sports reporter for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford High School newsletter at rrstar.com. Jay has been covering a wide range of sports, from the Chicago Bears to youth sports, since the turn of the century at the Register Star, accumulating over 30 years of experience.
This article was originally published on Rockford Register Star: Cole Guttman: Blackhawks prospect back in Rockford, already shining
Sarah Anderson dives into the fast-paced world of NHL hockey. Her coverage includes game analysis, player spotlights, and the latest news from the ice. Sarah’s dedication to the sport ensures that hockey enthusiasts stay informed about the NHL’s thrilling action.