Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks aim to stay hot vs. Devils tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks aim to stay hot vs. Devils tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the New Jersey Devils tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Down two centers?

The Blackhawks have found a way to pick up five out of a possible six points in their last three games without Jonathan Toews, who will miss a fourth straight with an upper-body injury, but it's asking a lot if you also take away their second-line center who had been filling in on the top line. Artem Anisimov limped off the ice late in the third period of Wednesday's game, and didn't return. He has officially been cleared to play, so the lines won't be as interesting as we initially thought, but it's worth watching whether Anisimov will be at full strength.

2. Strong on the penalty kill.

The Devils haven't taken many advantages on the power play away from home this season, cashing in on only three of their 39 opportunities, a success rate of 7.7 percent, which ranks second-worst. They will be getting a big boost on offense tonight, however, with Taylor Hall, who's been sidelined for the last eight games with a knee injury, returning to the lineup. It will also be a challenge considering Jonathan Toews remains out, which takes away one of the Blackhawks' top penalty killers. One way to avoid this problem is to stay out of the box all together.

3. Corey Crawford vs. Cory Schneider.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Crawford has been standing on his head lately, and the Blackhawks wouldn't be stealing points on a consistent basis without him. He came up large again in Wednesday's 2-1 shootout win over Florida, stopping 38 of 39 shots, including both shootout attempts. Crawford's counterpart tonight isn't too bad, either. While his numbers aren't quite as good as they were last year, Schneider remains one of the league's top goaltenders with a 8-6-3 record, 2.56 goals against average and .914 save percentage this season. He backstopped the Devils to victories in both meetings against the Blackhawks last year, turning aside 54 of 58 shots, good for a .931 save percentage. Perhaps we'll see another goaltending duel.

4. Slow down Michael Cammalleri.

One of the hottest sticks in the league right now is Cammalleri, who was named the NHL's second star of the week after recording at least two points in all three games. He has seven goals and four assists in his last six, which included a hat trick, the sixth of his career, in a 4-1 win over Carolina despite logging a season-low 13:10 minutes of ice time. The 34-year-old winger ranks second on the team in points with 14 despite missing six games with an injury. Keep the puck off his twig.

5. John Quenneville to make his NHL debut.

It will be a mini family reunion at the United Center tonight. After placing Beau Bennett (leg) on injured reserve, John Quenneville was recalled by the Devils and is expected to make his debut — unless the return of Taylor Hall somehow blocks him from hopping into the lineup, which would put a damper on a cool story. John is the second cousin of Joel, the Blackhawks' head coach. He was a first-round pick (No. 30 overall) in the 2014 draft, and leads Albany, the Devils' AHL affiliate, in goals (7) and points (17) through 19 games. It should be a memorable moment for all the Quenneville's in the house.

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All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

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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: