Hossa enjoys a happy All-Star homecoming


Hossa enjoys a happy All-Star homecoming

Updated: Sunday, Jan. 29 at 7:24 p.m.

KANATA, Ontario The applause hit Marian Hossa as soon as he stepped onto the ice at ScotiaBank Place this weekend. It was, as he called it, warm and welcoming, a fitting greeting for the forward who began his career here back in the late 1990s.

For Hossa, his fifth NHL All-Star Game appearance had special meaning mainly because of the location. The Chicago Blackhawks forward, who had a goal and two assists in Team Charas 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson on Sunday, has never forgotten those first several years he spent with the Ottawa Senators.

And it was apparent this weekend that Senators fans have not forgotten him.

It was awesome, Hossa said about the weekend. Actually when I found out the game was here and I was picked, I was looking forward to it. Its not just another game. Its a special place to come.

It was an entertaining weekend for both Blackhawks forwards. Patrick Kane took center stage with his breakaway competition-winning Superman moment on Saturday and he added a goal to Team Charas victory on Sunday.

And Hossa just reveled in the four days here. Outside of his All-Star duties, he found time to visit friends that he still has in town. On the ice, he was part of Team Charas lethal top line with Pavel Datsyuk and fellow Slovak Marian Gaborik, who earned MVP honors with his hat trick and assist.

We just tried to move the puck and Gabby scored the first two quick goals, Hossa said. After that we just had fun. We were hoping he got the MVP.

In other words, Hossa wasnt too broken up about not getting that car the MVP is awarded.

That wasnt on my agenda, but Im glad I could help somebody get one, he said. We had good chemistry tonight and we got the MVP on our line, so that was our goal.

Hossas mind will probably be back to regular-season hockey as soon as he heads back to Chicago Sunday night. A game with the Vancouver Canucks looms on Tuesday. But for the last four days, Hossa enjoyed the place he once called home and the Ottawa faithful made him feel like it was that again.

I always had good memories here, he said. I guess people dont forget.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks' starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let's just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks' victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain's confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should've gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews' goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He's getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, "it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen."

2. Great start. This hasn't been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn't the Blackhawks' best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford "looked like he was in control."

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he's been very good. When he's been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks' second goal. Kempny didn't play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team's road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. "Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it's man coverage, sometimes it's playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff," Quenneville said. "Defenseman is a tough position as you're growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he's making progress."

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik's 11th goal of the season in the first period.