Patrick Sharp leads Stars to shutout victory over Blackhawks


Patrick Sharp leads Stars to shutout victory over Blackhawks

DALLAS – Patrick Sharp scored plenty of goals during his time with the Blackhawks. On Tuesday he got a one against them.

Sharp scored his 12th goal of the season against his former team and added an assist as the Dallas Stars beat the Blackhawks 4-0 at American Airlines Center. It was just the Blackhawks’ third loss in their last 10 games, and they’ll head into the Christmas break at 20-12-4.

Jason Spezza and Colton Sceviour also scored for the Stars, who head into the break atop the Central Division with 54 points. Johnny Oduya added a secondary assist for the Stars.

Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 32 shots.

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The Blackhawks and Stars were locked in a close game through the first two periods, with Spezza’s power-play goal midway through the second being the difference. But in the third period, the Stars broke things open. Sharp’s goal came just 11 seconds into that period and it seemed to ignite the Stars.

“It was a tough way to start the third period,” Brent Seabrook said. “They have a good team over there. They have a lot of explosive players and a lot of guys who can make plays quick.”

At the same time, the Blackhawks suddenly looked deflated. They were outshot 17-3 in the third, putting up no fight against a Stars team that scored three in the third period. Colton Sceviour scored less than three minutes after Sharp and Mattias Janmark added another late in the third to make what was once a close game a lopsided one.

“They scored right off the bat [in the third.] Then, whether [or not] they opened us up, all of a sudden we were trying to press,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t have the puck much at all. We chased it around the whole period.”

Considering how this one started, it looked like it would be a low-scoring one despite the offense both teams possess. The Blackhawks had two power plays early, and while the advantage has been a boon to them most of this season, it was not on Tuesday night. They didn’t get a shot on either power play.

[MORE: Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play goes quiet]

“Yeah, I think if you create more offense early in the game, it at least gives your team confidence, it gives you momentum, it gives you energy, and we didn’t quite get it the way we needed it after those power plays,” Jonathan Toews said. “Even if you don’t score, if you generate some chances, some shots, it still gives your team some energy. We didn’t get a whole lot of that off those two power plays.”

The Blackhawks didn’t get much of anything on Tuesday night, especially in that third period. They’ve wrapped up a pretty decent first portion of their schedule heading into the Christmas break. They’re starting to get some chemistry in their lines. Crawford, outside of Tuesday’s outing, has been strong. But a lot of the good things they’ve been building up were missing on Tuesday against some of their former teammates.

“There have been a lot of points and found ourselves moving up some spots in the standings,” Seabrook said. “But this is a tough one to start the break with.”

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens


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: