Blackhawks

Hjalmarsson's 'special game'; Kane's relic

Hjalmarsson's 'special game'; Kane's relic

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Posted: 12:20 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is used to playing in pain. Its just the price you pay for being a shot blocker.

Hes done what hes had to during his latest injury, a hand issue that has him taking maintenance days when he can and playing through it when necessary. But if he was hurting Monday night against the San Jose Sharks, he wasnt playing like it.

Hjalmarsson played just under 19 minutes, blocked three more shots and scored his third goal of the season in the Blackhawks 6-3 victory over San Jose. Hjalmarsson has logged lower minutes in recent games as he works through a hand injury. But on Monday, he had what coach Joel Quenneville called a special game.

Thats as hard as Ive seen him shoot the puck, Quenneville said. He had a great shot (on his goal) and another in the third period as well. He keeps trending and he really enhances his overall contribution from the defensive perspective.

Could the harder shots on Monday be a sign that Hjalmarssons completely healed?

I wont say that, he said. Im just playing through it, just trying to do as best as we can.

Hjalmarsson says he just keeps the positive attitude going.

Its just mental a lot. You just try to handle the pain in a good way, he said. Sometimes youre almost more pumped up because you cant play as you want to. Maybe that prepares you in a different kind of way. It sounds weird, but thats how it is.

Kanes memento

When Patrick Kane scored his 100th career goal on Monday night, captain Jonathan Toews made sure he picked up the puck for his linemate.

Hes been thinking about it for a couple of games, Toews said. I could see him looking over there. So I figured I had to go get it.

Kane said his only disappointment was not getting the 100th goal in Washington on Sunday, when his parents and sisters were at the game.
Patrick Kane received the puck from his 100th career goal, even though justice could have been served by Jonathan Toews and left Kane without the memorable piece of rubber. (AP)
(Patrick) Sharp was saying, Dont worry about that one. Youll get more important ones than the 100th. But its nice (Toews) went and got it. I told him Id get his 100th and then I forgot, Kane said.

Injury update

Brian Campbell (left leg) and Dave Bolland (concussion) did not play against San Jose on Monday night. Campbell played the first half of the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Sunday and is still listed as day to day. Quenneville hoped that, with the Blackhawks not playing again until Thursday, Campbell could be ready for that game.

Bollands situation is murkier. The center took an elbow to the head from Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina last Wednesday and is still apparently feeling the effects of it. Quenneville could give no timetable for Bollands return.

Right now I dont think anythings changed over the last couple of days, said Quenneville. Asked if Bolland is feeling any better, Quenneville said hes about the same.

Briefly

Patrick Sharps four-assist night gives him 68 points this season, a new career high. Sharps previous high was 66 last season.

Brent Seabrook played just under 24 minutes with an assist, a team-high six blocked shots and four hits. He finished a plus-2.

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.