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Article updated: 9/19/2011 7:13 PM

Ray Emery battles for Hawks' backup goalie berth

By Tim Sassone

At one point during the summer it appeared to be a slam dunk that Swedish rookie goalie Alexander Salak would have the job as Corey Crawford's backup.

Then the Blackhawks invited veteran Ray Emery to camp on a tryout basis.

Game on.

But Emery's presence hasn't changed anything in Salak's mind. He figured he needed to have a strong camp anyway to show coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman he was ready for the NHL.

"In the hockey world every day is different," Salak said of his reaction to Emery's late invite. "I didn't think it was going to be easy. It's a great opportunity and a good battle. All I can do is work hard."

The Hawks likely would send Salak to Rockford if he doesn't beat out Emery even though he has a one-way contract and a $612,000 salary no matter where he plays.

"I hope that doesn't happen to I'm not even thinking about it," Salak said.

Emery and Salak will split the goalie duties in Tuesday's preseason opener against the Edmonton Oilers in Saskatoon.

"Salak has been fine," Quenneville said Monday after three days of training camp scrimmages.

"You're watching all the goalies. There's not a ton of time for us to make a decision, but in practice we're still watching too. It's not all just games. You're watching their every day demeanor, how they fit in and their composure."

Oh, brother:

Jonathan Toews and younger brother David will be in the lineup tonight against the Oilers.

It will be the first time the Toews brothers have played together on the same team since Jonathan was 6 and David 4.

"I'm sure they played a lot running in the hallways and basements," Joel Quenneville said. "We'll have a lot of fun with that."

Jonathan Toews will be one of the few veterans making the trip. Also in the lineup for the preseason opener will be Jamal Mayers, Rostislav Olesz, Viktor Stalberg, Nick Leddy, Sami Lepisto, Steve Montador and John Scott.

Among the prospects getting a look with David Toews will be Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Kyle Beach, Phillip Danault, Brandon Saad and Mark McNeill.

"We're going to have a young lineup," Quenneville said. "It'll be nice to see some of these guys play a game."

Roster trimmed:

The Hawks reduced their training camp roster to 54 on Monday by sending five players back to juniors: forwards Mirko Hoefflin and Ludvig Rensfeldt, and goaltenders Mac Carruth, Johan Mattsson and Kent Simpson.

Tip-ins: Tonight's preseason opener against Edmonton will be streamed live at 8 p.m. on chicagoblackhawks.com. ... Patrick Kane scrimmaged again Monday but rookie Jeremy Morin (concussion) did not. Kane had 2 goals and 4 assists in two scrimmages. ... Former defenseman Keith Carney has been hired by the Hawks as player development coach.

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