Marian Hossa’s late scratch shakes up Blackhawks’ offense
|06.18.13 at 12:52 am ET|
In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, Marian Hossa was one of the most visible Blackhawks on the ice as they dominated the Bruins early on. Before Game 3, he disappeared from the lineup at the last minute with what was later classified as an upper-body injury.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he knew earlier in the day that Hossa was likely to miss the game, even though he wasn’t announced as a scratch until after pregame warmups. However, Quennevile emphasized that the problem didn’t arise in warmups, despite some initial reports to the contrary. He didn’t expand on when the injury might have occurred.
“We’ll say day-to-day,” Quenneville said of Hossa’s status. “We’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the next game. It was a game-time decision after the warm-up there. That’s when we made the call, after warm-up.”
Hossa’s absence, and Ben Smith‘s insertion in his place, led to some shakeups in Chicago’s lines. Jonathan Toews started out skating between Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik, and while he led the team with five shots, he didn’t get the kind of offensive support from his linemates that he’s used to getting with Hossa.
Meanwhile, Smith, who had played just one regular-season game and no playoff games for the Blackhawks this year, jumped into a bottom-six role. Quenneville continued shuffling the lines throughout the night, but no combination seemed to click.
As Tuukka Rask continued to stymie the Hawks’ celebrated offense, it could certainly be argued that they missed Hossa, who is tied for the team lead in points in the playoffs and ranks third on the team with 65 shots.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he didn’t know Hossa would be out any earlier than anyone else outside the Hawks’ organization, but that it didn’t affect his outlook on the game.
“Just found out when I received the game sheet,” Julien said. “I was as surprised as anybody else. But to be honest with you, there wasn’t any changes in our game. As I mentioned the other day when I was asked about another player, we don’t make our game plan based on an individual. I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn’t mean we change our game. I think it’s important we stick with what we believe in.”