Emery looking to show Hawks what he can do

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Emery looking to show Hawks what he can do

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011
Posted: 6:16 p.m.

By TraceyMyers
CSNChicago.com BlackhawksInsiderFollow @TraMyersCSNRay Emery is a hopeful guy entering the Blackhawks training camp next weekend. Hes getting a chance at a backup goaltending spot, another chance at continuing his career.

Im excited that Im with a good young team that I could contribute to, he said Saturday, where he was with other Blackhawks for their day at U.S. Cellular Field. I just want to do well and show I can help them win a few games this year.

Emery spent enough time doubting things in 2010. He was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a degenerative disease that deteriorated 90 percent of his hip joint; it couldve led to a collapsed hip and hip replacement. Even with the bone graft surgery to fix it in the spring of 10, he said there was perhaps a 60 percent success rate.

Rehab, time on crutches, a return with the Anaheim Ducks, Emery went through it all. But he got through it all, too, and now hopes his hockey renaissance can continue in a Blackhawks uniform.

There were a lot of ifs and hoping and wondering, Emery said of the ordel. But everything went in my favor and I was able to get back pretty quickly. Im pretty happy with the way it all went.

Last summer Emery was on crutches. This time hes getting ready for the season. Hes doing some of what he did during his rehabilitation, range-of-motion work as well as his normal routine. He said hes also been skating the past three weeks.

Emery will be competing with Alexander Salak, a young Czech netminder who the Blackhawks acquired along with Michael Frolik from the Florida Panthers. Emerys been here before and obviously has the veteran NHL background that Salak lacks. But it ultimately comes down to two weeks of training camp and who shines above the other.

Emery has dealt with the doubts about his health. Now hes ready to show how confident he is in his game.

Even after (last season) finished I took a month off and felt a lot of improvement in my hip where I had the operation. I slowly but surely realized I wasnt thinking about my injury. I was just able to concentrate on playing hockey. I wasnt able to do that last year, he said. Im excited. I feel pretty good.
Mourning friends
The plane crash that killed a majority of the Lokomotiv (KHL) hockey team early this week touched many NHL players. That includes Emery, who lost four former teammates in the crash. He played with Karel Rachunek in Ottawa and lived with Josef Vasicek when they were both in juniors.

I just couldnt imagine what it was like for families back home, having that empty feeling when you lose someone like that, said Emery, who had played one season in the KHL with Atlant Moscow. It was an awful day.

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

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

When the Blackhawks traded to get Brandon Saad back, they also acquired Anton Forsberg, who they believe is ready to be their latest backup goaltender. On Monday they signed him to a two-year deal.

The Blackhawks inked two players on Monday, Forsberg, whose contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and Tomas Jurco, who agreed to a one-year contract extension.

Forsberg joins the Blackhawks having very little NHL experience – he’s played 10 career games at this level, going 1-8-0. But the Blackhawks’ previous two backup goaltenders, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling, hadn’t made an NHL appearance before joining the Blackhawks. Forsberg led the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate team, to a Calder Cup title in 2016; during that run he went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

On Friday, when the Blackhawks acquired Saad and Forsberg from Columbus for Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte, general manager Stan Bowman said the team is, “optimistic about Anton’s potential.”

“We like his profile as a goalie,” he said. “He’s a big guy, takes up a lot of net, has that mobility and makes good positional saves as well as athletic saves. A year ago, led his team to the [Calder] Cup championships, so he knows what it’s like to put a team on his back. It was the AHL but he’s had a lot of success there. He’s earned the right to be an NHL goalie.”

Jurco, acquired by the Blackhawks from Detroit in February, played 13 games with them down the regular-season stretch. Bowman said shortly after the trade that Jurco would get a chance here.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” he said. “I think a lot of ways, sometimes guys need different opportunities. It doesn’t work out in every place. A fresh start will be great for Tomas.”

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”