Kris Versteeg is the latest to get a top-line opportunity and Corey Crawford will start when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators tonight at the United Center.
Brandon Bollig, who did not skate this morning, is fine and will play vs. the Predators, according to coach Joel Quenneville.
Marian Hossa skated with the Blackhawks this morning but will not play tonight. Hossa, who was injured when Craig Adams hit him during the Stadium Series game -- he said his back was not the injury -- is hoping to return against Detroit on Sunday or at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Versteeg skated with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews at this morning’s skate and will play in that right-wing spot tonight. For Versteeg, it’s a chance to see what he can do with the captain.
“It would be nice to take advantage of it,” he said. “Obviously to play with Toews, he generally makes everyone better just with the compete level and the way he plays. Hopefully that helps me out and hopefully I can bring energy and help them out as well.”
Meanwhile, center Peter Regin is back in tonight’s lineup – at right wing. Regin skated with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw, who will center that line, at this morning’s skate. Sheldon Brookbank will draw in as the sixth defenseman.
The Blackhawks enter tonight’s game in fifth place in the Western Conference. They’re looking to make up some ground and get back into the top-seed hunt, starting tonight.
“We definitely put ourselves in a tougher spot with the loss vs. Colorado,” Quenneville said. “We have (the Predators) three more times; we know how they play against us. It’s going to be tight out there so let’s prepare the right way. We have to try to get ourselves in the position we were most of the year. It’s very important we take care of our own business and put ourselves back where we want to be.