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.

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

This is public service announcement regarding Alex DeBrincat and his potential this season with the Blackhawks:

Tap the brakes.

We’ve relayed this address a few times the past few seasons, most notably with Teuvo Teravainen as people eagerly anticipated his professional debut. We’re pretty sure when he was recalled for the first time, exultant trumpets played faintly in the background. But it bears repeating now with DeBrincat, who might or might not do fantastic things right out of training camp.

This warning, however, comes not only because DeBrincat might not be ready for the grand stage play-wise. It’s also because the Blackhawks might not have room for him.

Take a look at CapFriendly.com for the Blackhawks’ current situation: As they enter the fall they’re roughly $35,000 over the $75 million salary cap, but it’s not so much about money as it is the roster setup. There are 22 players currently listed on the Blackhawk’s CapFriendly roster, but only five defensemen. Also, of the 14 forwards listed, only one could be sent to Rockford without going through waivers (Nick Schmaltz).

So if there’s no room for DeBrincat, don’t be surprised.

Still, it’s going to be interesting to see what DeBrincat does at training camp this fall. You understand why the hype is there. DeBrincat is coming off three stellar seasons with the Erie Otters, with whom he had 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) last season. DeBrincat is hopeful that a strong training camp could lead to opportunity, but he understands it might not be right away.

“I’m confident in my abilities,” DeBrincat said. “But they have a plan for me and I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I’ll stick with their plan.”

But the Blackhawks will take the slow-and steady approach with him as they did with past younger players. He’s only 19 years old, so there’s no need to rush his development. Playing time in the American Hockey League could be very beneficial for him as he makes the jump from the OHL to the pros. As former Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said earlier this summer, dealing with bigger and stronger players at this level is going to be the toughest hurdle for DeBrincat.

“It’s not that he’s afraid; he’s very good at battles. But just playing against the opposition, against five strong, fast players and just finding out how much time he has, where the room is,” Knoblauch said in early June. “One-on-one battles in our league, there are strong guys and he does fairly well. But when you have a unit of guys, it makes the game a little more difficult.”

DeBrincat will have his time with the Blackhawks. It just might not be right away, and for several reasons, including the current roster setup. So let’s tap the brakes. For now, anyway.