Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Marian Hossa off to strong postseason start

marian-hossa-4-20-flying.png

Blackhawks: Marian Hossa off to strong postseason start

The phrase describing a player as “being all over the place,” be it on a field or on ice, gets used a lot.

In the case of Marian Hossa, especially in Game 3 of the Blackhawks’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators, it seemed fitting: another big-stage game, another big-stage performance for the right wing.

“Every season he gets older but he looks younger out there on the ice,” Brent Seabrook said. “He’s special. He’s one of those guys who it’s amazing to see.”

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Corey Crawford regrouping, happy for Scott Darling]

Is it reaching that extra gear? Finding that second wind? They’re more clichés but they’re all applicable when it comes to Hossa’s ability to raise his game level when necessary. He was part of a top-line onslaught on Sunday, when he did everything but score a goal. And he was close to doing that, too. Hossa played 15 1/2 minutes, recording a team-high six shots, two takeaways and two hits. He also assisted on Jonathan Toews’ second-period goal, leaving a drop pass for Toews once he realized the Blackhawks captain was gaining.

“Yeah I was going to release it but then I saw he was coming right behind me and he was wide open,” Hossa said. “I just tried to drop it to him, go to the net. He picked a really low blocker and it was a hard shot to react on it.”

Hossa isn’t one to praise his own work; his teammates, however, are more than happy to do it.

“He’s always been, I would say, a playoff performer,” Michal Rozsival said. “Every time in his career, this time of the year he’s always elevated his game. He’s played well in the second half and continues to play well now. You can tell he loves this time of year.”

The Blackhawks’ top line of Hossa, Toews and Brandon Saad was not happy with how it played in Game 2 on Friday night. The three felt they could have been a lot better on both sides of the puck. With Nashville defenseman Shea Weber out of Game 3 – he would have faced that top line, as he usually does for the Predators – the trio knew it had to take advantage of his absence. Hossa was the catalyst for that, offensively and defensively.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Buy a Marian Hossa jersey here]

“He’s been real good,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Hoss is one of those players who guides our team by playing the right way. Whether it’s back checking or speed off the rush, you notice that pace he brings. He has even more of a step come playoff time. He knows what’s at stake and he likes to contribute at this time of the season.”

Hossa loves this time of year; that’s evident in his play. Perhaps the playoffs provide a fountain-of-youth affect or maybe it’s just being a veteran player who realizes the enormity of this time of year. Either way, Hossa has reached that next level, or hit the extra gear. The Blackhawks will take it.

“Hoss has been one of the best players in the league for a long time,” Seabrook said. “To be able to see him the last six or seven playoff runs we’ve been on, he always brings it and ratchets it up a little.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

usatsi_13786169.jpg
USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

loss_edit.png
USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.