After Nick Boynton collided with him during practice on Monday, Marian Hossa will miss another two to three weeks for the Blackhawks, starting with yesterday's game at home against the rival St. Louis Blues.
While the injury is officially listed as a lower-body injury,
reports specify Hossa's knee as the injured area. Although Hossa
already missed six games earlier in the season, he still ranks fourth
on the team in points with 18, scoring eight goals and tallying 10 assists
in the 21 games he has played in.
The Hawks currently sit at a mediocre 14-11-2, and could certainly use the assistance of the Slovakian Wonder while attempting to improve their record and creep up out of fourth place in the Western Conference.
The good news is that the Hawks have won three games in a row now, including their firstwithout Hossa last night. Following a 4-2 West Coast road trip, the Hawks went on a scoring frenzy in front of the United Center crowd last night, potting seven goals in a 7-5 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both stepped-up in Hossa's absence, each scoring two goals and assisting on one other. Jeremy Morin, called up for the second time this season, this time in place of Hossa, scored his first NHL point with an assist on Troy Brouwer's second period powerplay goal, and also took off his gloves in the third period for his first NHL fight.
The bad news is that once again the Hawks seemed to lose their heads for a big chunk of the game, stretching from late in the second period to nearly halfway through the third. With just over half of the entire game played, the Hawks held a 5-1 lead on the Blues, but began to let that slip away when they surrendered a goal to Eric Brewer with 2:30 left to play in the period.
In the third, the Hawks made it three unanswered Blues goals, allowing St. Louis to score at the 3:17 mark to make it 5-3, and again less than three minutes later to make it a one goal game. Thankfully, what has not happened often enough this year did happen, and the Hawks were able to answer back with two straight goals. Kane and Toews scored their second of the night each within two minutes of each other, Toews during a powerplay opportunity, to give the Hawks another solid lead. [See the full scoring summary here]
After twelve combined goals, three separate fights, and a spirited back-and-forth bout, the Hawks prevailed, giving the UC crowd a happy ending. All-in-all, it was an incredibly exciting, albeit sloppy, game, and the Hawks will surely take any win they can as they look to put themselves back atop their division and the Western Conference.
With the Red Wings dominating the league right now, with a 16-4-2 record, not to mention four more points in five fewer games than the Hawks, Coach Q will need to find a way to get a consistent 60-minute effort from his roster if they do intend on climbing back to the top of the Conference.
Last night's win was a good way to start the second Hossa-less stretch of the 2010-11 season, despite any of the inconsistencies displayed on the ice. Hopefully hanging on to this win, as opposed to surrendering it as they had done earlier in the season, is a sign of things starting to change the right way for the Hawks.
Up next is the Crying Luongos Friday night again at the UC. After the Hawks embarrassed the Canucks once again (this seems to happen rather frequently) in Vancouver just 11 days ago, Vancouver Coach Alain Vigneault accused the beloved Coach Q and the Hawks of running up the score. While I say the Canucks simply happen to suck, often crapping their pants at the mere thought of playing the mighty mighty Blackhawks, Vigneault simply was mistaken in his evaluation of the Hawks that night.
He was right, however, when he said "We basically embarrassed ourselves tonight in front of our fans." Look for these post-game comments to fuel yet another onslaught on the part of the Hawks, and I would expect yet another embarrassment in store for Vigneault and his Crying Luongos, but this time he will have the cheering United Center fans to warm their hearts instead of the boos from their hometown loyalists.