Tag:Ray Emery
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:05 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Pregame Skate: Caps have to take care of home ice

The Caps' next four games are at Verizon Center. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Pregame Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

7 ET, New Jersey at Washington

You might think the Washington Capitals are in a good position to make the playoffs this season either as the eighth seed in the East or the Southeast Division championship. They are, they still have as good of a shot as any team in the hunt.

But it is pretty amazing how slim the margin of error is for this team at home. Considering they have been below .400 on the road and have nine more games away from home to go that include some very tough stops, winning at home is almost a must. They come into Friday night with 69 points on the season and have 10 home games left against the nine on the road. To get to a conservative estimate of reaching the playoffs of 90 points, you'd realistically think they need 15 or so points at home. Six more from the road gets them to 90, and that's no guarantee of getting in either.

So you can see that winning on home ice is imperative. And here in the second game of a crucial five-game homestand come the New Jersey Devils who, good news for the Caps, haven't been having a world of success lately. They have lost four in a row while the Caps have run off three consecutive wins.

The question coming into this game specifically is how much if any carryover Washington's win over the Islanders this week will have. Trailing 2-0 with less than four minutes left, the Caps came roaring back before Alex Ovechkin scored a classic Ovi snipe in overtime. It really might prove to be a season-saving comeback. But not if they don't keep the good things going from that.

It's worth noting that the Caps should be well-rested having not played since Tuesday while the Devils are on the back end of a back-to-back, losing to Boston in overtime on Thursday.

9:30 ET, Dallas at Edmonton

The Stars maintained their leg up on the rest of the playoff-chasing pack through Thursday's game and continue to hold eighth place by themselves. In fact, if they can get the win tonight against the Oilers, they will tie the Sharks for seventh in the West (but will remain eighth by virtue of games played).

But they can't just waltz into Edmonton thinking that two points are theirs for the taking. When you look at the potential spoiler teams across the league in the stretch run, the Oilers might be the scariest of the admittedly limited number of teams.

They have supreme young offensive talent and the problem with young talent is that it is so often inconsistent. You never know when the Oilers are going to score four or more on you. The point is, the Stars aren't guaranteed anything tonight.

If the Stars do come away with two points they will create a little buffer between themselves and the pursuers, potentially taking a three-point lead.

10 ET, Calgary at Anaheim

In what might have been a make-or-break game for the Flames on Thursday night in Phoenix, they became the first team in literally a month to beat the Coyotes outright. On the road no less. Consider the hope alive for the Flames.

But they get no rest in trying to keep it going by visiting the Ducks tonight. I still do have a tough time with the fact that the Flames are right here, but they are. A win and a Stars loss would actually put the Flames into a tie with Dallas (albeit with one more game played).

Their opponent, meanwhile, is losing its grip fast on their hopes. There is no room for error for the Ducks right now if they hope to overcome longs that seem longer than Toronto's Stanley Cup drought. The night begins with them seven points back of the Stars, who we already detailed are in action. So at best they are five points back of a playoff spot at the end of the night, at worst they're nine back and you can pretty much officially write them off at that point.

That's what makes this time of season so fun to watch. You have some serious desperation in most of the games being played and this one will be no different. Makes for some exiting hockey.

Others worth watching

7:30 ET, Rangers at Tampa Bay: This has little to do with the Rangers (except the Presidents' Trophy race). They pretty much already have the East's No. 1 seed wrapped up already. The question is if the Lightning can do what Buffalo has done and crawl back into the conversation.

7:30 ET, Minnesota at Detroit: Detroit is not only fighting for the Presidents' Trophy but the Central Division crown. The Wild though are one of those desperate teams trying so hard to right now hang on to hope.

7:30 ET, Chicago at Ottawa: A tricky important game. But teams are in the playoffs slightly comfortably at the moment but at the low side in each conference and a failure to pick up points starts to make things a little more interesting. And there is the little subplot of Ray Emery's return to Ottawa.

Your promised miscellany

  • Thursday's Winners & Losers
  • Great news: Jean Beliveau's wife says the Habs legend is progressing well in his stroke recovery. (NHL.com)
  • The Wings are going to be without Nicklas Lidstrom in their two games this weekend. (NHL.com)
  • It's been rough for James van Riemsdyk since he got that extension last summer. Now he has a broken foot after blocking a shot. (@NHLFlyers)
  • There wasn't much Florida could take out of a 7-0 trouncing by the Jets last night. But at least Erik Gudbranson delivered one heck of a check.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:06 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:58 pm
 

Blackhawks coach, goalies get vote of confidence

Quenneville led the 'Hawks to the Stanley Cup two seasons ago. (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

Times have gotten rough for the Chicago Blackhawks, real rough. Like no wins in their last eight games rough.

It has led to some speculation that head coach Joel Quenneville's job could be in jeopardy. Imagine that, a team that's still in playoff position firing its coach not even two years after winning a Stanley Cup? Hey, sports are a "what have you done for me lately" business and lately Quenneville's team hasn't done much for anybody other than give opponents points.

Well GM Stan Bowman is trying to put an end to it. He came out with that ol' vote of confidence on Monday, from CSN Chicago.

"That's not the concern for me at all. I'm very confident in Joel's ability, our coaching staff's ability. Our players - the effort is there. They're as frustrated as anybody, you can watch it on the ice. It's not working. There's no disputing that, but I don't buy that assertion (that Quenneville's message is lost) at all. These players are on board with us. They believe in this group (of coaches). We're not far. We need to get this turned around, but we're not far from making it work."

When I asked if Joel's "the guy," Bowman responded, "Absolutely."

So, is Quenneville's heat hotter than Hades now? We know how often that vote of confidence goes well for the person they are confident in.

Call me crazy, but this is one of those times where I actually do believe Bowman. Unless the Blackhawks go eight more games without winning, I have a hunch that Quenneville has a job through this season, at the least.

So who should be feeling the heat for this skid, the goaltenders? After all, Ray Emery has a 2.81 goals against average and .901 save percentage ... and his numbers beat starter Corey Crawford (2.99, .898).

Nope, they are safe too, according to Bowman.

"We're not focused on goaltending. We're really not," Bowman said. "I know there's a lot of talk about that, but internally, we have to focus on the guys we have, and turning it around from within."

Does that mean the Blackhawks will be a completely stand pat team at the deadline at the end of this month? Are there no moves for them to make?

Well, it's still likely that they will look to upgrade the defensive corps. It's been an issue all season long and they could use some reinforcements back there. Of course, there are a lot of teams who want to find some quality defensemen and not a whole of them to be found, especially after Andy Sutton just re-signed with the Oilers.

More from Eye on Hockey

Trade deadline rumor mill

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:28 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 4:30 pm
 

Pucks & Numbers: Blackhawks' D and goaltending

Does Chicago need a backup goalie upgrade? (Getty Images)

Pucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at how the NHL's have top scorers have been used this season.

By: Adam Gretz

As the Chicago Blackhawks prepare to enter the second half of the regular season they find themselves in the bottom-third of the league when it comes to preventing goals.

Entering Tuesday's game in Vancouver, a rematch of last year's Western Conference Quarterfinal series, which the Canucks won in seven games, the Blackhawks are giving up just a little over 2.8 goals per game, which puts them 20th in the NHL. The only teams that are currently occupying a playoff spot that are surrendering more goals on a nightly basis are the Philadelphia Flyers (2.90) and Ottawa Senators (3.04).

So what is the biggest problem at this point? The goaltending of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, or the defense in front of them?

Actually, it's probably a little bit of both.

When the the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup two years ago it was easy to point to what their biggest weakness was -- goaltending.

It was supposed to be the position that held them back on their playoff run, and there was even a bit of concern (a lot, actually) when the trade deadline passed and the team was prepared to go into the postseason with a duo of then-rookie Antti Niemi and veteran Cristobal Huet. It raised a few eyebrows, resulted in a lot of questions, and then they went on and won the ultimate prize, ending a lengthy championship drought for the franchise.

Niemi was definitely solid in net, and he made some big saves for them in the playoffs, but he wasn't exactly Tim Thomas or Dominik Hasek back there, either.

Statistically, the Blackhawks finished the regular season, as a team, near the bottom of the NHL in most of the key goaltending areas. Their overall save percentage of .901 was 23rd in the league. Their 5-on-5 save percentage of .902 was 29th, ahead of only the Ottawa Senators.

Through their first 50 games this season the Blackhawks new goaltending duo is playing at a slightly higher level, especially when it comes to even strength play. At 5-on-5 the pairing of Crawford and emery is 22nd in the NHL with a .911 mark, and at a comparable .901 mark (23rd) overall. But they're giving up nearly a half-goal more per game.

How is that possible? The team in front of the goalies isn't anywhere near as good at limiting the goaltendes workload.

The Stanley Cup team in '09-10 had ridiculous depth at forward and defense and consistently steamrolled over their opponents, controlling the puck better than any team in the league. They limited their opponents to just 25 shots per game and out-shot them by an average of nine shots per game, the third-best mark of any team over the past 10 years. A team that controls the puck like that is capable of overcoming what might be a weakness in goal.

While they're still a really strong possession team this year, they're simply not an all-time great one like the Cup team was, due in large part to the decreased depth, especially on the blue line. (Just as a quick example: Even though he has a contract that was the butt of many jokes, Brian Campbell, now a member of the Florida Panthers, was a really, really good player for the Blackhawks. And while they needed to find a taker for his contract, they do miss his play on the blue line). That decreased depth puts the below-average goaltending (and let's face it, that's what it's been for a couple of years now in Chicago) under an even larger microscope.

I'm not sure Chicago can find an upgrade over Crawford on the trade market leading up to the deadline, and even though his play has regressed a bit from last season, he can probably play a little better over the second half of the season. Their best bet leading up to the deadline would be to focus on adding some depth to their blue line, or at the very least, looking to find an upgrade over Emery to help take some of the pressure off of their second-year starter.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:46 pm
 

David Perron scores in return to lineup



By: Adam Gretz

Appearing in an NHL game for the first time since last November due to a concussion, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron scored in the first period of his return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

He missed 97 games due to the concussion that he suffered in a game against the San Jose Sharks when he was hit by Joe Thornton. Prior to the game on Saturday Perron Tweeted that Thornton sent him a text message wishing him luck in his return.

It took him just three shifts to score his first goal of the year, and it was a nice one as he went to the front of the net, picked up a loose puck and demonstrated some nice puckhandling ability in a tight space, beating Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery.

Prior to his injury last year Perron had scored five goals in 10 games, and in 235 career games entering Saturday the former first-round pick had scored 53 goals over parts of four NHL seasons, including a career-high 20 during the 2009-10 campaign.

Previously At Eye On Hockey

Perron to return after missing 97 games
David Perron cleared for contact drills

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Daily Skate: Canucks won't forget Methot's hit

By Brian Stubits

METHOT MARKED: The Canucks played in Columbus on Monday night and during the game Henrik Sedin took a hard check into the boards from the Blue Jackets' Marc Methot. While he didn't get any supplementary discipline from the NHL for the hit, there could be more waiting from Vancouver down the line. Kevin Bieksa says a few Canucks tried to challenge Methot to a fight to no avail, so he had this to say afterward: "Hank's a tough guy and he'll take that for the team. But we'll remember that." (Vancouver Sun)

PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY: When Daniel Carcillo arrived in Chicago for his introductory press conference, he decided to fit right in and take some shots at Vancouver, including Tanner Glass, saying he'd "keep them in check" this season. Problem is, Glass is with the Jets now. "He should probably figure out what team I’m on before he starts doing stuff like that. The funny thing is, I’ve asked him to fight before, and he said no. It’s kind of surprising that he called me out in the media. I have no pre-existing relationship with him. He’s a donkey; everyone knows he’s a donkey, that’s just his thing." (Illegal Curve)

SALAK BACK: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they recalled Alexander Salak from the AHL on Wednesday. Corey Crawford had missed the previous two days of practice, but on Wednesday he was back and Ray Emery wasn't present. Interesting goings ons in Chicago. (CSN Chicago)

SPOT PRACTICE START: I just love these stories. The Capitals had to sit out Michal Neuvirth in practice on Wednesday for what Bruce Boudreau called a lower body injury (he is available for Thursday's game in Pittsburgh, coach said). Since you kind of need two goalies, they got PR man Sergey Kocharov to fill in. (Capitals Watch)

BACK TO THE TANK: The San Jose Sharks are moving their next few practices to the HP Pavilion, where they play their games. The idea? Coach Todd McLellan wants his team to get used to the new boards and glass so they can keep their home-ice advantage. Good thinking. (Working the Corners)

FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET: That is one way to desribe Phil Kessel's shot. Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer talks about the invisible shot that is so quick of his team's All-Star forward. He sounds glad to be on the other side of the ice. (Toronto Sun)

TO BOO OR NOT TO BOO? That is the question begging Senators fans about Sergei Gonchar. There is no question in this blogger's mind Gonchar deserves it for his indifference in Ottawa to start the season. (Silver Sens)

NYSTROM CLEARS: The Minnesota Wild placed Eric Nystrom on waivers last week then put him on re-entry waivers on Tuesday. Both times he cleared. So even at half price, nobody was willing to take a shot on the 28-year-old who had just four goals and a minus-16 last season. (Russo's Rants)

CHANT ALONG: Finally, as a request by @CoachBlueweiss after yesterday's Daily Skate item about the Maple Leafs' (and others') new goal song, here is some love to the Islanders' for this year, a little diddy called Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani. Not bad.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.



Posted on: October 3, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Emery wins backup goalie job for Blackhawks

By Brian Stubits

This summer, Ray Emery was viewed as one of the better free-agent goalies on a very thin market, but he went unsigned before being given a tryout by the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite a rocky preseason, he earned the backup spot, receiving a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000 on Monday.

To earn the spot on the team he beat out young prospect Alexander Salak, who the Blackhawks optioned down to their AHL affiliate in Rockford. On a roster that is primed to make a run this season, the backup goalie spot behind Corey Crawford was one of the few missing pieces to the puzzle.

Emery earning the contract might come as a little surprise, but it seems Chicago values the experience he brings to the table over Salak.But this preseason, his numbers have been less than stellar. In two starts he had an 0-2-0 record, 4.58 goals against average and a 0.813 save percentage. Oh, and one ugly, blooper-reel worthy goal allowed to Matt Cooke of the Penguins.

Emery was at his best back in 2006-07 with the Senators, going 33-15-2 with a 2.47 GAA in Ottawa before slipping to the point where he spent a season in the KHL. He returned to the NHL with Philadelphia in 2009-10, then played for the Ducks in Anaheim last season, being thrust into the starting position for the playoffs. He went 7-2-0 in his short stint with Anaheim with a 2.28 goals against average, leaving many to think he's get a contract over the summer. Instead he had to work his way on and Chicago apparently liked enough of what they saw to keep him around.

It's going to be something to watch this season for Chicago. Crawford appeared to really settle in to being a No. 1 keeper last season, helping Chicago turn things around down the stretch and almost knocking out the ventual Western Conference champion Canucks in the playoffs. And while you can't read much into preseason numbers, Emery's aren't very comforting for Chicago fans, so they'll hope it was a matter of Emery just getting his feet wet.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 7:41 pm
 

Marty Turco not ready to retire



By: Adam Gretz

Training camps are set to begin next week and Marty Turco is still without a team. I wrote about Turco's situation, as well as a few other veteran goaltenders that were still looking for work, back in July and wondered where (or if) players like him could still fit in, seeing as how nearly every team in the league appeared to be set in the crease.

Now that we're into September, not much has changed, and Turco is still searching for a club.

To this point we haven't really heard much about Turco's plans, whether he intends to keep playing or if he will simply call it a career and announce his retirement. That changed on Tuesday when he spoke to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago and confirmed that he still wants to, and thinks he still can, play in the NHL this season, and isn't quite ready to move into the broadcasting booth or any other post-hockey endeavor.

From Rogers:
Turco's hopes probably reside on a training camp injury or underwhelming performance either by a rookie or other veteran. "I want to play some more," Turco said. "I still think I can play in this league. I'm not ready for plans after hockey just yet."
And that's probably what it's going to take -- an injury or underwhelming performance by a goaltender that's considered a question mark headed into the season. Every team in the NHL has at least two goaltenders signed to an NHL contract for the upcoming season, and in recent weeks veterans like Ray Emery (Chicago) and Manny Legace (Vancouver) have accepted tryout contracts with no guarantees, and in the case of Legace, a seemingly slim chance of sticking with the NHL club.

Turco signed with the Chicago Blackhawks late last summer after the club walked away from Antti Niemi's arbitration ruling. He opened the season as the starter, struggled, and appeared in just 29 games, the second lowest number of his career (the lowest was his rookie season as a member of the Dallas Stars). By the middle of the season rookie Corey Crawford had taken over as the No. 1 goalie with the Blackhawks and not only held that spot through the playoffs, but also managed to get a three-year contract extension as a result of his promising play.

The one team that might stand out as a possible destination for Turco -- and this is nothing more than a guess at this point -- is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Steve Mason is entering his fourth season in the NHL and has regressed a bit from his standout rookie season, while the only player behind him on the NHL roster is 25-year-old Mark Dekanich, a minor league standout in the Nashville Predators organization that has appeared in just one NHL game. If things go poorly with that situation a player like Turco might be an option as a stop-gap.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.


Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Daily Skate: A call to ban all body contact

By: Adam Gretz

JUST ELIMINATE EVERYTHING: An editorial penned by Ken Gray of the Ottawa Citizen talks about what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should do if he were really brave to cut down on the number of head injuries, and brings up the possibility of banning all hits to the head, fighting and, yes, even body contact. I'm pretty sure that's never going to happen. I will, however, admit that there may come a point where fighting and/or hits to the head get banned completely, but all body contact just doesn't seem possible -- or likely -- for the NHL game.

CHICAGO'S BACKUP GOALTENDER COMPETITION: Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune looked at the Blackhawks backup goaltender competition last week that will involve youngster Alexander Salak and veteran Ray Emery, who will be appearing in camp on a tryout contract. Corey Crawford, a rookie last season, is penciled in as the starter after a promising debut season and strong performance in his first playoff appearance.

NEW YORK STILL ON THE HOOK FOR DRURY BUYOUT: Chris Drury announced his retirement on Friday, and as Brian Stubits mentioned in his post on the subject, Drury's buyout from earlier this summer still counts against the Rangers' salary cap over the next two seasons. Joe Fortunato at Blueshirt Banter has some thoughts on that, and figures it was unavoidable since Drury probably wasn't planning on retiring when the Rangers bought him out.

AEBISCHER GETS A TRYOUT WITH WINNIPEG Former NHL goaltender David Aebischer will be getting a tryout contract with the Winnipeg Jets in training camp this season, but as Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press writes, he's an extreme long shot to make the team with Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason already on the roster. He last appeared in the NHL during the 2007-08 season with the Phoenix Coyotes, and has spent the last four seasons in Switzerland.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com