Blackhawks’ Ray Emery hasn’t forgotten last Edmonton trip
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org February 1, 2012 10:53PM
Ryan Smyth scores on Ray Emery during the Oilers’ 9-2 rout of the Blackhawks on Nov. 19. | John Ulan~AP
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Updated: May 9, 2012 10:13AM
EDMONTON, Alberta — Ray Emery remembers the feeling.
The last time the Blackhawks were in Edmonton, Emery spoke after a 9-2 shellacking at the hands of the Oilers about how he and his team needed to remember what that night felt like. They didn’t want it to happen again.
“I remember, for sure,” said Emery, who allowed seven of the nine goals in the Nov. 19 game but has rebounded to win eight of his 11 starts since. “That was a tough game, and I don’t think I’ve had a game like that in my career before. Not just the nine goals, but the way it was, too. It seemed like there wasn’t much of a fight put up.”
Joel Quenneville will stick with Corey Crawford in goal Thursday against the Oilers after his strong performance Tuesday helped the Hawks earn a point against the Vancouver Canucks. But Emery expects the memory of the team’s worst loss of the season to serve as motivation.
“That one left a really sour taste,” Emery said. “So, yeah, hopefully we remember that and use it to come out strong.”
Given the Hawks’ three-game losing streak and the tight race in the Central Division, the players say they need a victory more than anything.
“We need to win games, plain and simple,” Patrick Sharp said after practice Wednesday.
But getting points against the Oilers, who have the second-worst record in the league, has been easier said than done. The Hawks have earned two out of a possible six against the Oilers, who won the teams’ last meeting 4-3 on Jan. 2 at the United Center.
“We’re obviously in a tough division and a tough conference,” Sharp said. “[We] were in first place two games before the break, and now we’re in fifth or sixth afterwards, so we know how valuable points are.”
Andrew Shaw, who remained with the team after fellow rookies Jimmy Hayes and Ben Smith were sent down to Rockford during the All-Star break, had four hits and a blocked shot in 21:51 against the Canucks. It was the second consecutive game he led Hawks forwards in minutes.
“It’s pretty exciting for me,” Shaw said. “I just have to keep working and keep battling every shift, and hopefully I’ll be here by the end of the year.”
While the increased minutes are a sign of Quenneville’s confidence, they haven’t been entirely by design.
“He’s a useful player in a lot of ways,” Quenneville said. “The one thing with him that’s a work in progress is we [need to] cut down his shifts. He gets out there a little bit long.”
Who’s yelling at him to get off the ice?
“Sometimes me, sometimes the guy who wants to get out there for him,” Quenneville said with a laugh.
No ill effects
Sharp said that he felt fine physically after the game against the Canucks and that he had a full range of motion in his left wrist, despite playing with a broken bone.
“I felt fine. I think it’s just a matter of getting the timing back and handling the pucks and battling, hanging on to it and making plays,” Sharp said. “That stuff comes with practice and games.
“Personally, I felt I got better every period and my third was the best. As a team, I thought we played well and probably deserved better, but we’ll take the point and move on.”