Hossa, Hawks get revenge against Coyotes

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Hossa, Hawks get revenge against Coyotes

Updated: 12:55 a.m.

GLENDALE, Ariz. Marian Hossa has been adamant in telling everyone he is just fine coming off that concussion.

Hes been cleared since Nov. 15. Hed been skating hard to get cleared, and continued that after he was. Still, the truest test of readiness is game action. Well, after two contests, this much is clear: Hossa wasnt kidding. Hes just fine.

Hossa had his second consecutive two-goal game and Dave Bolland had two goals and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 6-4 at Jobing.com Arena on Sunday night. The Blackhawks got four points on this back-to-back road trip, scoring 11 goals in two games.

Patrick Kane had two assists as did Michal Rozsival, who made his Blackhawks debut. Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg tallied their first goals of the season.

Hossa downplayed tonights game against the Coyotes, the first time hes faced Phoenix since forward Raffi Torres ended his season in Game 3 last April. For him, he said, it was just another game I came into the game, no hard feelings and just prepared like I always do, he said. But theres no doubt that, in these first two games, Hossa is playing some vintage Hossa hockey.

Its always nice to get a great start, but hes taking it to another level in the first two games, captain Jonathan Toews said on Hossa. Hell say the same thing: he just wants to keep playing well. But to get that confidence early on is a huge thing.

Said Bolland, hes playing the same Hossa game hes always played. You see how he uses his size, stick and vision. Hes one of the best in the league.

Hossas happy with his first two games, but he said theres still work to be done.

The legs are going, but the hands and head are still adjusting to the fast game. But thats probably the same for everyone who hasnt played much at this point, said Hossa, who added points dont always equal a great outing. Sometimes I play much better and dont get any points and I feel great about my game. Sometimes I dont feel great about it and get a couple of goals.

Still, unlike Saturdays opener in Los Angles, this game got a little interesting. The Coyotes stormed back early in the third period, when their drive and the Blackhawks sloppiness led to two quick Coyotes goals and cut the Hawks lead to 5-4. But one Blackhawks timeout and 22 seconds after Shane Doan scored to make it 5-4, Bolland knocked the game-winner up and over Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith.

Q made a great call there to bring us to the bench and calm us down. It stopped their momentum, also, Bolland said of the time out. We bounced back quick.

Recovering seems to be the theme of the Blackhawks in this early season, be it an individual players great recovery from a horrible concussion or the teams recovery from an opposing goal. The Blackhawks are proving their depth is working. And Hossa is proving that, when he said he was fine, he meant it.

Pucks are going in for him, and that lines been affective in a lot of ways, Quenneville said of Hossa. Hes a big part of our team. Its nice to see him rebound and get off to a good start.

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson heard some of the rumors, but not to a large degree. The former Blackhawks defenseman wasn’t spending a lot of time on the internet reading up on his potential fate. He figured he’d still stay put in Chicago.

“But when my agent called me about the 10-team list, I understood it was serious. Stan [Bowman] wouldn’t ask for that unless they made up their mind already,” Hjalmarsson said via conference call on Saturday. “That’s when it hit me that I’m probably not going to put the Hawks jersey on anymore.”

Indeed, Hjalmarsson’s next jersey will be that of the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday. Hjalmarsson’s departure marks the end of the line for another Blackhawks core player, and this one is jarring in how it will change the team’s defense.

Speaking of change, Hjalmarsson faces a lot of it himself now. Sure, there’s the obvious change for a guy who’s played his entire career in one place. It’s new surroundings and a new team, on which he knows former Blackhawks teammate Antti Raanta and fellow countryman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

But the Coyotes have dealt with a lot of upheaval lately. Goaltender Mike Smith is gone. So is veteran Shane Doan. On Thursday, head coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes parted ways.

“They’re on a rebuild, a lot of new faces, lot of changes,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s tough to know what to expect but I think they’re a hungry organization that wants to win like other teams. I’m looking forward to try to contribute with playing my game, just try to get the organization back in the playoffs.”

Hjalmarsson should find chemistry with Ekman-Larsson – the two were teammates in the Winter Olympics in Sochi – and Hjalmarsson will likely play a bigger role with the Coyotes. Arizona will probably look to Hjalmarsson a lot during its rebuild, given his Cup-winning history.

The first 24 hours were full of mixed emotions of Hjalmarsson. With his limited no-move clause, he was always a likely candidate to be moved from a Blackhawks team laden will full no-move clauses. He’s turning a page, but he won’t forget his time in Chicago anytime soon.

“I’m trying to always be a positive guy,” Hjalmarsson said. “I spent my whole 20s in Chicago, 10 unbelievable years. I didn’t think I’d win three Cups. Hopefully I can get one more before my career is over. I had the best time in Chicago, enjoyed every single year, playing in front of the best fans in the league. I’ve been spoiled. Now it’s time for me and my family to move on and seize the opportunity in Arizona and create some new fond memories.”