Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Hossa returns to practice

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Blackhawks' Hossa returns to practice

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011
Posted: 12:58 p.m. Updated: 3:14 p.m.

By TraceyMyers
CSNChicago.com BlackhawksInsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
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Marian Hossa is still working through losing a good friend earlier this month. But seeing his baby girl born a few days later has been the saving grace.

Its the best thing that could happen for a person, Hossa said of his daughters birth, which came two days after friend Pavol Demitra was killed in the Lokomotiv plane crash. I lost my friend in the accident and (her birth) made it easier to go through a rough time.

Hockey could have the same good-feeling affect.

Hossa practiced for the first time this preseason on Wednesday, as the Chicago Blackhawks right wing took a few extra days to get through his up-and-down emotional start to September.

Physically, Hossa has never felt better. He said he got away from hockey the first two months of the offseason and relaxed Now Im more hungry, he said. He also got more time to train.

Hossa attended Demitras memorial, which was right before camp began. He asked the Blackhawks if he could take a few more days to deal with everything so he could enter camp focused.

And while Hossa said he needs a day or two to keep up with the guys, coach Joel Quenneville saw otherwise.

Boy, did you notice him on the ice, Quenneville said. The practice picks up; he looked like he was in mid-season form out there. He didnt miss a beat.

Hossa will still have a lot on his mind for some time. Hell always remember the loss of Demitra, and will find a way to honor him this season. But first-time fatherhood is soothing the pain of a friends loss. Hockey should help him move on, too.

Im glad to be here and think about something positive, Hossa said. My teammates welcomed me and Im looking forward to training camp.

Thursday players

Quenneville will go with Alex Salak and Ray Emery again Thursday in Pittsburgh, with Salak starting. Some veterans will play, but Thursdays game will once again feature younger players.

Patrick Kane and Hossa, however, are doubtful for Thursdays game, as well as the next two after that. Quenneville said the two are more likely to play the final three preseason games.

Briefly

Patrick Sharp watched practice on Wednesday. Quenneville said Sharp feels way better today.

The Blackhawks assigned Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill to their respective training camps on Wednesday. The roster now stands at 52.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Did Artemi Panarin throw shade at Patrick Kane?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Did Artemi Panarin throw shade at Patrick Kane?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Tracey Myers discuss the first week of training camp. Alex DeBrincat will skate on Patrick Kane’s line with Nick Schmaltz in Thursday’s preseason game, but is DeBrincat ready for the NHL?

In Columbus, Artemi Panarin talked to the Tribune and Sun-Times about the trade. The Breadman did his best Kane impression saying ‘‘This is business, baby.’’ Panarin also said that in Columbus ‘‘I can play a little bit more with the puck,’’ adding via an interpreter ‘‘Just kind of express myself on the ice a little bit more.’’

Boyle and Myers debate whether this is Panarin’s attempt to throw shade at Kane and the Hawks.

They also discuss which defenseman have turned some heads in the first week of camp, Anton Forsberg’s impressive debut as Corey Crawford’s under study, and who might be “the guy” to bring the young Blackhawks and the core group together.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here:

How a Jonathan Toews injury could have kept Blackhawks from winning 2010 Stanley Cup

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AP

How a Jonathan Toews injury could have kept Blackhawks from winning 2010 Stanley Cup

The Blackhawks made history in 2010 when they snapped a 49-year championship drought by breaking through to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. But their fate could have changed dramatically if it got to a Game 7 for a reason that practically nobody was aware of until now.

The Athletic’s NHL Insider Craig Custance sat down over the summer with some of hockey’s greatest coaches to dissect games of their crowning achievements for his book titled, “Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey's Greatest Coaches,” which was released in September. One of those coaches included was Joel Quenneville, who won his first career Stanley Cup as a head coach with the Blackhawks in 2010.

So the two went back and rewatched Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Philadelphia — the series-clinching game — to get a glimpse inside Quenneville's mind during that game.

Well, inside the book, there was a pretty big revelation regarding their star player. Jonathan Toews had apparently suffered a knee injury late in the game that was serious enough to put his status for a potential Game 7 in doubt.

Here are a few snippets:

"Jonny gets hurt in this game with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation," Quenneville says. "He can't really go. Thank God we scored early [in overtime]. I think it would have been impossible for Jonny to play Game 7."

Wait. What?

This was all news to me.

Same to everyone else.

It happened in the waning minutes of the third period on the play the Flyers evened up the score at 3-3. Toews was shoved into the goaltender after the goal was scored and stayed down on the ice grabbing his knee, then labored back to the bench hunched over.

His teammates didn't know how serious Toews' injury was at the time either:

"It wasn't until midsummer. I remember talking to him, he was still having problems with this knee," Sharp said. "That's when I was like, 'Holy shit, we wouldn't have had Tazer in Game 7.' That just shows you the margin of winning and losing is so small."

In this moment, Hossa has no idea how banged up Toews is. He taps the puck back to Toews as they enter the offensive zone. Flyers forward Darroll Powe bumps him off the puck and the threat is wiped out. The Flyers are headed the other way.

"Yeah, he can't go. Left leg, can't really go," Quenneville says.

It went completely unnoticed, but it could have been a psychological turning point in the series if the Flyers recognized that the Blackhawks' captain was banged up:

Just imagine the lift the Flyers would get if they realized that not only had they tied the game and possibly forced a Game 7, but the Blackhawks' most important player was injured. Quenneville realized this. He was hoping to play Toews just enough to throw the Flyers off the scent.

"He gets that shift, so everybody knows he's fine. Okay, this is Carter. Watch this chance he gets."

Claude Giroux finds a wide-open Jeff Carter, who spins and fires a puck that Niemi somehow saves.

I'm stunned at how close the Blackhawks came to losing this game.

"What a chance he had," Quenneville says.

"That would have made it 4-3 and you're going back without Toews in Game 7."

"Every one, we got lucky."

What a turn of events that would have been, huh?

Knowing the competitor in Toews, he probably would have found a way to play in a possible Game 7, but it certainly makes Chicago appreciate Patrick Kane's game-winning goal in overtime even more knowing its captain may not have been able to play or, at the very least, wouldn't have been close to full strength.

The book goes into full detail of how Quenneville monitored Toews' injury throughout the end of that third period and in overtime, the communication he had with Toews and trainers, and even offers his thoughts on his shifts after the injury like he's coaching in real time again, among many other things.

It's a must-read, and a great in-depth look at how the complexion of the series could have changed on a play nobody saw.