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."
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."
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."
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.