Chicago Sun-Times

Salak says he's happy with play as goalie battle nears finish

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With the competition for the backup goalie spot nearing an end, rookie Alexander Salak said he's happy with how he's performed this preseason, which is good because it looks like he's only going to be facing teammates for the time being.

Starter Corey Crawford will play the whole game Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings and should play in the preseason finale against the Capitals in Washington on Sunday.

Veteran Ray Emery will start and play the entirety of Friday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I did my best every time on the ice," said Salak, a former standout in the Swedish Elite League. "I just tried to do my best. That's all I can do. That's all I concentrated on, so I'm really happy about my performance."

Salak performed well in his one full exhibition game, making 30 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings on the road. Salak fared well with a bunch of rookies defending him against the veterans and All-Stars the Red Wings had playing.

"He had an excellent second period and was real strong in the third," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought he did a real good job. . . . We like what we see. Organizationally, he's done a nice job for us."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the 24-year-old. But the Hawks are pleased with what they have in Salak, who was acquired in the Michael Frolik trade with the Florida Panthers.

If the Hawks do decide he needs more seasoning and that it's better to have a veteran like Emery behind Crawford, they have the option of sending Salak to the Rockford IceHogs without having to go through waivers.

Was Salak happy with possibly his last performance?

"It was definitely different," said Salak, who allowed shootout goals to Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi on nice moves. "It was a lot more fun. It's different than a half of a game. You never know how it goes when you play half. When you play a whole game, I really enjoyed it."

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on September 27, 2011 3:58 PM.

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