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Bernard High On Hogs Playoff Chances

Blackhawks GM of Minor League Operations Mark Bernard likes the way the team is jelling.
The IceHogs are the hottest thing going in the AHL right now with a nine game point streak.  The question is can they keep it going and break their three year playoff drought? 

The talent is in place to snap that drought.  And no one knows that better than the man in charge of overseeing that talent Blackhawks GM of minor league operations Mark Bernard. The depth throughout the Blackhawks organization might be as good as it’s ever been.

"That’s what we’ve really worked hard over the last three, four, five years is really developing a system that provides depth," says Bernard. 

Because the Blackhawks are loaded and they’ve stayed injury free for the most part, that’s left NHL ready players like Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard stuck here in Rockford.

"There’s players here that are ready," says Bernard. "It’s a tough nut to crack. Those pl ayers might be playing in other organizations, but because of the depth of our team and how good our team is they’ have to be patient and wait their turn."

The Hogs stars are playing like stars. Morin has accounted for 15 points over the last nine games. Pirri has six goals and three assists in his last six games.  And Bouchard has accounted for nine points in only six games with team.

"The team here has really jelled over the last seven or eight weeks," says Bernard.

Throw in defenseman Adam Clendenning as another guy who’s close to NHL ready.  And the biggest key of all might be the play of 33 year old goaltender Jason LaBarbera. He’s on a personal six game winning streak.

"One situation that really helped was Jason LaBarbera coming into the nets.I think he’s done a great job not only player, but he’s an older voice in the locker room," says Bernard.

The fans are responding to the Hogs streak.  More than six thousand of them have packed the BMO the last two home games.

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