Blackhawks

Boden: Don't expect Kane to be dealt

672614.png

Boden: Don't expect Kane to be dealt

Patrick Kane's season -- and this Blackhawks slump -- has given fans, hosts, bloggers and analysts reason to throw his name out there as one big, fat piece of trade bait as the Feb. 27 deadline approaches.

But folks, despite a call by many that the organization needs to make a blockbuster move, it's not going to happen this season.

It's ironic that we haven't seen nearly as many pictures or rumors or innuendo about Kane off the ice this season, yet he's having the toughest season of his young career. He's been a team player this year more than any and hasn't gotten the rewards. The performance leads to more calls, and more finger-pointing, and certainly Kane's year has put his value under the microscope.

Jeremy Roenick's opinion that the Hawks might look into what they could get in return comes as a result of what he's put up -- or hasn't put up -- statistically compared to what some of the other "core" guys have done this season.

Kane's status as a face of the franchise and cornerstone for the future has not changed. Moving him would obviously involve a long, hard look at what he's capable of doing for another 15 years, the quality of what you get in return, how much of a long-term need whatever would come in return fills, and how they replace him in the lineup.

The wise-crackers this year would say he's easy to replace based on his stats. Another factor involves salaries coming and going. And, of course, the popular rumor -- a couple of years running now -- is sending Kane to his hometown for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.

There are other scenarios by all of us amateur GMs: Tim Thomas, Jonathan Bernier, Cam Ward. But your slam-dunk, No. 1, what-will-we-do-if-Corey-Crawford-gets-away-in-free-agency Fan Club of a year ago was served and the man with two more years left on his contract becomes...a backup? Traded to someone else? Providing what in return? There are many facets to this.

Right now, based on the lack of sellers and teams still feeling they're in the playoff race, the opinion here is Feb. 27 will have very few -- if any -- blockbusters throughout the NHL. The Blackhawks could've helped their trade deadline cause during this losing streak by beating the likes of Calgary, Colorado and Phoenix and get them thinking more as sellers than buyers.

It's not impossible, just don't hold your breath for those anxious to ship the guy who scored your Stanley Cup-clinching goal out of town for the sake of doing something and immediate gratification. Stan Bowman's not in line with J.R.'s thinking. Of course, he'd always listen. Just don't believe Kane will be aggressively shopped.

As I said on Chicago Tribune Live on Monday after our interview with Bowman, I just don't see any huge, imminent organizational earthquakes. But if this losing streak stretches to 12, 13, and beyond -- of course the folks in charge can change their minds with continued misery.

And as I also said on CTL that day: if this group doesn't regroup soon and misses the playoffs in a season of such huge expectations because of a massive collapse, everything gets re-evaluated. Upstairs, behind the bench and on the ice -- Kane and everyone else in uniform included.

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

37223567_10105857984279570_4623576162939961344_n.jpg
AP

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

The second wave of Blackhawks defensemen is on the way. That's exactly where all the attention was when prospect camp opened up Monday at MB Ice Arena.

Nicolas Beaudin. Adam Boqvist. Henri Jokiharju. Ian Mitchell. Call it the Big Four. Where are they all at in their development? When will they be ready to make an NHL impact? Who's the most pro ready? 

Lots of questions. Those will slowly start to get answered and it begins now.

While there may not necessarily be an open competition among the group right away, there's certainly a desire to make a strong first impression in front of the upper brass that included Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Joel Quenneville watching on Day 1.

"Every NHL team has a lot of good defensemen prospects, so I mean obviously when you want to go out there you want to showcase yourself as best as you can," Mitchell said. "Obviously you want to be the best defenseman here so that's my goal going into this, I want to prove to everyone that I'm a good defenseman, I deserve to play at the next level. Obviously there's lots of good players here, but you're trying to all succeed."

Said Beaudin: "There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of good, young defensemen. I think you just need to be different when you play when you show what you can do."

Said Boqvist: "I'm trying to be better every day. Of course I will play in the NHL one day and win Stanley Cups, so that's my mindset."

The theme? Focus on your own game, take what you learn out of this week and apply those tools in your game when advancing your development next season. The rest will take care of itself.

Mitchell will go back to Denver for his sophomore campaign to continue his development. Beaudin is expected to return to the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Boqvist signed with the OHL's London Knights, where he will look to get accustomed to the North American style of play.

For Jokiharju, the goal is different. This is his second development camp. He signed an entry-level contract in June. Making the big club is a real goal and a legitimate possibility for a Blackhawks team looking for young, impact defensemen immediately.

"I think if Henri has a really good summer of training, comes into camp, I certainly thinks he gets a good look," Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NBC Sports Chicago last month.

Jokiharju showed poise and confidence with and without the puck during drills, like someone who knows this is only the first step towards that ultimate goal.

"Yeah," Jokiharju responded when asked if the expectation is to make it to the NHL this season. "You want to set the bar high, you don't want to set the bar too low. I want to dream big and that's the dream."

That's the dream for everyone. When that happens, it's up to them. This week is a chance to set an early tone.

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was identified as the victim in an early morning drowning on Sunday at the Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Police confirmed. He was 35.

According to the Hamilton Spectator, Emery and his friends jumped in the water around 6:30 a.m., but Emery never resurfaced. His body was recovered later in the afternoon.

Emery played in the NHL for 11 seasons, two of which came with the Blackhawks from 2011-13, where he served as a backup goaltender to Corey Crawford.

In 2013, he teammated up with Crawford to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals against in a single season, before going on to capture his first Stanley Cup. During that season, Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Blackhawks issued this statement following the confirmation:

The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery’s passing. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The Blackhawks will fondly remember Ray as a fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion.

The hockey community took to Twitter to offer their condolences when news began to spread: