Roenick wants No. 27 retired by Blackhawks


Roenick wants No. 27 retired by Blackhawks

GLENDALE, Ariz. Jeremy Roenick took it all in with pride, a humbling moment for a guy who admits hes hard to humble. But for Roenick, seeing his No. 97 listed among the Phoenix Coyotes Ring of Honor was truly a special moment.

And it would mean just as much to him if the Chicago Blackhawks also retired his number.

Roenick, who was drafted and spent his first eight NHL seasons with the Blackhawks would love to see his No. 27 hanging from the United Center rafters. While Roenick lives in the Phoenix area and could be involved in a potential purchase of the Coyotes, Chicago will also be dear to him.

They just drag their feet a little bit slower than these guys, Roenick joked prior to his Ring of Honor ceremony on Saturday night. Without question thats a huge goal of mine, to (have my number) retired in Chicago. Its the best honor as an athlete, with exception of the Hall of Fame. Its the best thing that you can have bestowed upon you.

Just based on the numbers, Roenicks certainly earned it. He tallied back-to-back, 50-goal seasons in 1991-92 and 1992-93 and had three consecutive 100-plus point seasons from 1991 to 1994.

The Blackhawks were on the bench during Roenicks pregame ceremony, something he appreciated greatly.

Both teams are special to me, no question, he said. Twenty-three years ago I was 155 pounds coming out of high school, it was unheard of for a team to draft anyone out of high school and Chicago took a chance on me. Theyll forever be in my heart. To be so passionate about one city and then be traded to another and feeling that same passion (for it), thats a special thing.

And as far as his former teams current struggles?

I think they gotta get their ass going, Roenick said. Every team goes through that. Theyre a strong team, they have a great coach. Theyll be all right.

Roenick will get his moment with the Blackhawks some day. His years and numbers with them have earned him that. Hell enjoy that chance when it comes. But on Saturday, it was about the team that retired his number first.

I think we have a good enough relationship after 20 years that well get there, Roenick said. But tonight its about Phoenix and how I appreciate being here and how much I love being here.

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: