Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Marian Hossa relieved to snap scoring slump

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Blackhawks: Marian Hossa relieved to snap scoring slump

The chances have been there, be it breakaways, odd-man rushes or just solid scoring opportunities.

Game after game, however, those great chances weren’t going in for Marian Hossa. His goal-less streak reached 14 games, the longest of his career. It was understandable if he was feeling aggravated.

“Well, maybe not as much as when I was younger,” Hossa said. “It probably would’ve been tougher.”

Perhaps the goal-scoring drought would have affected him more during his early career. That doesn’t mean Hossa, who turns 37 on Tuesday, still wasn’t frustrated. But for Hossa it was about keeping his focus, keeping that defensive game going in the midst of the offense going quiet, and figuring it was only a matter of time before goals went in again.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

On Sunday he finally got rewarded, scoring two goals in the Blackhawks’ 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Hossa’s happiness and relief were evident when that first one went in 1:39 into the second period. His second came with 1:18 remaining in that period. Playing an all-around game has long been Hossa’s trademark. Still, given the quality chances he was getting, Hossa couldn’t help but feel snake-bitten.

“At my age, it’s not about me just scoring goals. But [with] so many good opportunities it was bugging me that I couldn’t put the puck in. If I wouldn’t have the chances that would be different but I had so many opportunities and the puck didn’t go in,” Hossa said. “I tried to stay positive and keep working hard.”

The Blackhawks’ top line felt the brunt of offseason losses more than anyone. With Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad gone, Hossa and Jonathan Toews have gone through a myriad of left wingers this season. At the same time, Toews and Hossa were looking for consistent scoring in their own games. While Toews was finding more goals lately – seven in his last 13 games – Hossa was being thwarted until Sunday’s breakthrough game.

“I don’t know how many breakaways he’s missed this year but nice to see a couple go in for him,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He was strong in the puck area several times with the positioning, strength and down with the stick, coming up with three or four pucks and sustaining some plays. The finished product was there for him too tonight, so good to see him scoring.”

[MORE: Blackhawks blast Avalanche for seventh straight win]

And the jump Hossa had after he got that first goal was evident the rest of Sunday night.

“He’s a goal-scorer; he wants to score goals. You could see after he scored he made some really nice plays, just holding onto the puck, got a few more chances,” Patrick Kane said. “He was fun to watch [Sunday].”

Whatever Hossa was feeling on the inside about his scoring drought, he didn’t let affect his all-around game. He got back in the goal-scoring column on Sunday. And with 500 goals so close, could that be the outing that leads to a goal-scoring streak?

“That would be nice but every year’s different,” he said. “Obviously this one felt good. I’ll just try to keep working hard and get more opportunities.”

Anton Forsberg to tribute Avicii with new mask

Anton Forsberg to tribute Avicii with new mask

Goaltender masks are often a place for artistic expression and tribute. Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg is adding his own touching tribute this season.

The 25-year-old Swedish goalie chose to tribute Avicii with an image of the musician on his goalie mask. Avicii, a fellow Swede, died by suicide in April.

David Gunnarsson, a professional mask artist, did the art for Forsberg's mask and posted it on Instagram.

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Today we have the honor to present Anton Forsberg´s new Blackhawks mask for the coming season😊🥅. Anton knew what he wanted on his new mask, he wanted to pay tribute to the Swedish DJ legend Tim Bergling❤️, a.k.a Avicii, who recently passed away. Just as Anton I am also a big admirer of his music and person and family🙏🏻❤️. It was a huge honor for me to paint and create this painting together with Anton in honor to Avicii´s family, they were also the first to see this painting❤️. The rest of the mask is painted in an old school and clean style, and on the other side of the mask Anton`s best friend pop up and makes him company in the net. @antonforsbeerg @nhlblackhawks @nhl @daveart

A post shared by David Gunnarsson (@daveart) on

According to Tracey Myers of NHL.com, Forsberg asked Avicii's parents for permission before going ahead with it.

"I've always listened to his music and have been a big fan of it," Forsberg said. "For me, there was no hesitation putting him on the mask."

Forsberg wore last season's mask in his preseason debut in Detroit on Thursday so he hasn't shown off the new gear just yet. That may need to wait for the regular season.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis talk about Joel Quenneville leaving the door open for No. 8 overall pick Adam Boqvist to start the season with the Blackhawks. What are the chances he and Henri Jokiharju both make the team?

The guys also discuss Corey Crawford's status and what to make of his abbreviated on-ice session after six straight days of skating, Connor Murphy's injury that could sideline him until December, how the line of Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane will work and the new 1-3-1 power play structure.

They also weigh in on which position battles they're looking forward to tracking during the back half of training camp.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!