Marian Hossa has missed the game these past two weeks he’s been sidelined with an upper-body injury. The Chicago Blackhawks, in turn, have missed his game and everything he brings with it.
On Sunday, it looks like Hossa’s latest injury wait will end.
Hossa is likely to play and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks will have a full lineup on Sunday, despite missing a few bodies at practice. Defenseman Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson did not practice on Saturday but coach Joel Quenneville said both are fine and will play vs. the Wings.
For Hossa, it’s been two weeks since a crunching hit from Pittsburgh’s Craig Adams put him on the shelf. He said Saturday’s practice was “a good test for me,” and he’s about ready to roll.
“We’ve got 15 games left so it’s going to be a great chase to the end of the season,” said Hossa, who skated with Kris Versteeg and Jonathan Toews on Saturday. “We’ll try to get our best timing possible and the same for me. I’ll try to get back ASAP and try to play my game.”
Hossa may just be one player returning to the Blackhawks’ lineup, but he’s one damn good player returning to the lineup. The Blackhawks have missed his contributions the last two weeks, and they could use his hunger to return, too.
“He certainly adds every piece you look for in a player. All parts of our game should be enhanced,” Quenneville said. “He adds speed, something we’ve lacked in our team game, and puck support. He’s one of the best players in the league and he’s definitely going to make a difference.”
Patrick Sharp agreed, but said the Blackhawks need to get their game back regardless.
“He’s a great player and it’s always nice when you have a full lineup. Whether he plays or not, though, it shouldn’t change way rest of us approach the game,” Sharp said. “But obviously having a guy like Hoss helps our team.”