Marian Hossa’s absence at Friday’s practice was hardly shocking. And as of now, he’s expected to be in the lineup for Game 5 tomorrow night.
Hossa did not practice but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa is “fine” as the team returned to prepare for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Jamal Mayers, who skated on the Blackhawks’ second line at Game 4’s morning skate in Boston, was there with Patrick Sharp and Michal Handzus.
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Hossa didn’t play in Game 3 and played just over 19 minutes of Game 4. Hossa admitted after the game that he was “so-so;” he did record six shots on goal and post an assist on Patrick Sharp’s power-play goal.
But anyone who saw him play in Game 4 knows Hossa wasn’t playing at his usual Hossa level. His skating was slower than normal and he left the bench at least twice during the game. So it was no surprise that Hossa was getting Friday as a rest/recovery day.
As for his on-ice work, something, if he’s physically able to do it, is better than nothing.
“I think the one thing about Hossa, production offensively or responsibility defensively, complementing our team game in all facets of the game is what we look for,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That consistency of what he brings day in, day out to our game is what makes him a special player and a valuable addition to our team.”
Hossa didn’t log much penalty killing time in Game 4, something that’s always part of his game. But Quenneville said he’ll probably see more, all around, in Game 5.
“I think that all areas we're going to be leaning on him,” Quenneville said. “No matter where we put him, you know he's going to get the job done. So I think we would expect him to be feeling a lot more comfortable, even going into tomorrow's game.”