Yep, that's our backup goaltender. The one on the left, dumbass.

The Blackhawks officially signed Ray Emery to back up Corey Crawford this season, ending the competition with Alexander Salak. Why should you care? Well, you really shouldn’t.

It doesn’t matter what the reasons were for Coach Q and Stan Bowman to go this route. There are plenty, I’m sure, and none of which are of any concern to me. Chicago fans have an affinity for the backup, no matter what sport. It’s always been that way. And finally, for the first time in a few years, Blackhawks fans don’t have to worry who the hell is wearing the baseball cap this season while the starting goaltender shines in net.

Do you think fans of other contenders in the West are sitting around discussing their backup goaltender? San Jose has Antti Niemi. Vancouver has Roberto Luongo. Detroit has Jimmy Howard. And all of their fans seem fine with that. Yet, with the ‘Hawks possessing a goaltender either better or on par with each of them – including Luongo, in my book – some of us are sitting around actually caring who will backup Crawford. Frankly, that’s ridiculous.

Maybe it’s carryover from the past couple years, when the initial starters went into the season with us already knowing they had questions they needed to answer for us. We all waited for Cristobal Huet to fail, and he did. Same goes with Marty Turco. And each of those seasons, the Blackhawks had a question mark at backup which took the reigns nicely. I get it.

Difference this season lies in the fact the ‘Hawks have nothing to worry about at goaltender. Tell me why I’m going to fret over who gets 25 starts this season, if that? I have more important things to worry about, like the fact my cat is taking annoying tongue bath next to me. There’s no reason to be worried, especially given the fact the ‘Hawks have enough room under the cap if they need to trade for a serviceable rental if the unthinkable happens and Crawford suffers some horrific injury.

Do I trust Emery to carry the ‘Hawks for a full season if that were to happen? No. But how many teams in the league trust their backup to do that in the first place? There’s a reason the backup goaltender is the backup goaltender. It’s not because the starter’s mask is prettier, it’s because he’s more talented than the other guy.

Take this news with a grain of salt, if you haven’t already.

More pressing issues …

♦   I stated the other day that I can’t see the experiment of Patrick Kane at center lasting very long, and I may not have thought it through all the way. I’m enjoying watching him there more than I thought, and I’m open to the idea – not that anyone gives a shit what I think anyway – of having him there for as long as he keeps going strong. Having Kane at center, then on the wing with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews on the power play would be a nice balance to use his playmaking abilities and scoring prowess throughout each game.

What team consisting of regurgitated piles of eaten diarrhea on skates do you hate most?

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♦   Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri have done enough in the preseason to make me feel at ease going into the season a little banged up with Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith on the mend. Saad, the 18-year-old, likely won’t play past his nine games before his contract kicks in, but he should be more than serviceable for the time Q needs him. Pirri hasn’t exactly faced stellar competition, but you have to be in the right spot to score goals, which he’s done well thus far.

♦   Maybe it’s just me, but I’m buying into all the quotes I’ve read from the likes of Toews, Kane, Sharp and Q about how excited they are about this season. It’s refreshing and making me more excited to watch what this team is all about. Remember, the ‘Hawks still ended up with 97 points last season after spending the offseason and much of the regular season talking about everyone who had left rather than who was still donning the Indian head. Friday, we’ll finally get our first taste.

♦   Speaking of Friday, I’ll be at Galway Bay on Diversey with the HOCKEENIGHT folk making an ass of myself. But we’ll talk about all that within the next couple of days.

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