Blackhawks

Frolik scores, but Blackhawks Staal-ed in third

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Frolik scores, but Blackhawks Staal-ed in third

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Posted: 8:28 p.m. Updated: 9:34 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
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VIDEO: Coach Q defends Emery
VIDEO: Frolik feels strong
VIDEO: 'Funny' goals on Emery

PITTSBURGH -- Brandon Saad watched the CONSOL Energy Center video screen as it flashed some of his high-school highlights. The product of Gibsonia, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, Saad was greeted with great applause from the hometown fans.

A few seconds later, he was on the video board again after taking a penalty.

"Yeah, not the best play," Saad said with a laugh.

All kidding aside, the young Saad has impressed the Chicago Blackhawks in his first training camp. The team's second-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Saad played 16 and a half minutes in the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Thursday night. Coach Joel Quenneville has been happy with Saad this entire camp, and it continued on Thursday.

"He's had a real nice camp," Quenneville said. "We've liked him since Day One. In these games he looks like he belongs. His upside is great. The puck looks like it follows him around."

Saad had two solid scoring chances in the second period but came up empty. Nonetheless, his talent and work ethic have been evident all camp. Saad said he just recognizes he's got plenty of company in trying to garner notice.

"I'm just trying to work hard day in and day out because there are a lot of good players out there," he said.

READ: Modano an inspiration for current Hawks

Whether or not there's room for Saad on this year's team is uncertain. He's nevertheless making a statement, whether it's for this season or in the future. And he was able to do some of it in front of the home crowd.

"It's awesome to play in any NHL game," he said. "But to be back home makes it more exciting."

Frolik scores

Michael Frolik had the Blackhawks' lone goal on Thursday, as his solid camp continues. Frolik has said he started feeling more comfortable with the team late last spring. It showed in the postseason and has filtered through to camp.

"It's the first game (for me) and you have to get used to it a little bit," said Frolik, who had one of his old linemates with him on Thursday -- Bryan Bickell. "Physically I felt pretty good. My legs were there and I feel strong. As the games go on I'll feel better and better."

Emery evaluation

Although he allowed four goals on 19 shots on Thursday, Ray Emery said he felt better in this game than he did on Tuesday.
Ray Emery is unable to make the save on Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke. Emery stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced. (US PRESSWIRE)
"Those are kind of funny goals going off shafts and stuff," he said. "I don't know how to play them different besides the last one. But you want to control rebounds when things like that happen."

Quenneville said it was hard to blame Emery for the third period.

"We had two empty side goals that we call cardinal sins. We don't want to give those up; those have to be cleared," he said. "They came at us a little bit in the third. We had some good opportunities, but I wasn't blaming the goalie."

Emery said he's feeling more comfortable as camp continues.

"I feel better, my hands are feeling better," he said. "It'd be nice to see it translate into a game here but you have to get the tough ones out of the way I guess."

Briefly

Quenneville said Corey Crawford should play all of Friday night's preseason home opener against the Washington Capitals.

WGN will stream the Blackhawks' Sept. 25 and 28 games against the Detroit Red Wings on wgnradio.com.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

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:

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

When the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the No. 1 pick the following year, it was a sign that the dark skies were clearing in Chicago. Things really started to change when Rocky Wirtz took over as chairman following the death of his father Bill in September of 2007, and one of the first decisions he made was to televise all 82 games.

The fans were coming back.

For only the second time in 11 years, the Blackhawks finished above .500 in 2007-08 but missed the playoffs by three points, a season in which Kane won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

The following year Joel Quenneville took over as head coach after only three games to provide some coaching experience behind the bench for a young team on the rise. It resulted in a 104-point season and ended in a Conference Finals berth at the hands of the arch-rival Detroit Red Wings in five games.

The Blackhawks were ready to make that step into championship contenders. They just needed someone to put them over the edge.

Enter Marian Hossa.

On July 1 of 2009, he committed to the Blackhawks for 12 years worth $62.8 million. He bought into the long-term vision and wanted to be a part of something special for many years to come.

Was he ever.

In his first game as a member of the Blackhawks, Hossa scored two goals in a 7-2 road victory against San Jose after missing the first month and a half of the season with a shoulder injury. It was at that moment where you saw what kind of powerhouse the Blackhawks could be and would become with a full lineup and future Hall of Fame winger added to a mixture of franchise-changing players scratching the surface.

Fast forward to Game 5 of the 2010 quarterfinals. You know how it goes. Series is tied 2-2. The Blackhawks trail 4-3 late in the third period. Extra attacker is on. How many times have we seen this? The Blackhawks were surely going to find a way to tie it up ... and then Hossa is sent to the box with 1:03 to play in regulation. A five-minute major boarding penalty.

Dagger...

Not so fast. 

Patrick Kane went on to score arguably the biggest goal in Blackhawks history, a shorthanded one that evened it up with 13.6 seconds to go. United Center is up for grabs. But there are still four minutes left to kill off on the penalty once overtime starts, which Hossa once called "the longest four minutes of my life." 

In a span of nine seconds following the penalty kill, Hossa jumped on the ice from the box, darted straight for the net and buried home what was the second-biggest goal in franchise history to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 in the series. Two nights later Hossa assisted on three goals and the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators in their barn.

The rest is history.

Who knows if the Blackhawks rally to win that series if they don't tie it up or win it in overtime. Who knows if they break through the next year. Who knows if that core group even remains together. The course of the franchise could've changed that night.

Instead, Hossa was handed the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on June 9, 2010 from Jonathan Toews, who couldn't give it to him fast enough after he came up on the losing end in consecutive appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and 2009.

Hossa would add two more titles to his résumé with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, which almost certainly locked up his legacy as one of the all-time greats and his eventual next stop: The Hockey Hall of Fame. The wait was worth it.

"I was hoping to get one coming to Chicago and now I’ve got three," Hossa said following the 2015 Stanley Cup win. "What a feeling." 

The Blackhawks don't win three Stanley Cups without Hossa, who will go down as arguably the greatest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history.

On behalf of the city of Chicago: Thank you, 81.