Blackhawks

Blackhawks readjust with Marian Hossa out roughly two weeks

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Blackhawks readjust with Marian Hossa out roughly two weeks

The Blackhawks have found ways to press on when they’ve lost a top player. Now they’ll have to do it again.

Marian Hossa will be out about two weeks as the Blackhawks head into tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hossa sustained a lower-body injury in the Blackhawks’ overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday and was placed on injured reserve on Sunday afternoon.

“Hopefully two weeks,” coach Joel Quenneville said of the time Hossa will miss. “That’s probably what we’re looking at.”

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It’s a big loss, considering everything Hossa does on both sides of the puck.

“You’re used to having a guy in the lineup for a long time, especially a guy like Hossa, after a while you might take for granted what that guy might bring to your room or to your team. You realize how much you miss someone when they’re gone. That’s definitely the case for Hoss,” Jonathan Toews said. “At the same time it’s the same as always: we have to find ways to step up and have other guys assume some responsibility, whether it’s power play or penalty kill or 5-on-5. The two-way game Hossa plays is huge for us. I’m sure some guys who will get added ice time will be ready for it.”

One of those guys is Panik, who will start on the Blackhawks’ top line tonight. Panik’s last goal came during a few minutes with the top line in the Blackhawks’ victory over Colorado on Feb. 2.

“It’s just a great opportunity for me to show what I’m capable of,” Panik said. “I’m just going to try to play my game. It’s been working for me so far, so I’ll stick with it.”

[MORE: Blackhawks place Marian Hossa on IR, recall Vincent Hinostroza]

Certainly, it’ll take more than one player to replace everything Hossa does. Panik gets the start on the top line tonight but Quenneville said Teuvo Teravainen could see time on that line as well. Regardless, the Blackhawks will collectively have to fill the void.

“It’s a good test and certainly you get a good look at some guys. There’s great opportunity, power play, penalty killing, important minutes, defensive situations, last-minute periods in games, all quality ice time you want to have out there,” Quenneville said. “Guys will be pushing for the opportunity to get it and hopefully they can take advantage.

"Certainly you have a guy [Hossa] who plays the right way in all those situations; there’s an appreciation of our team game that gets reinforced with him doing it night in, night out. There are certain areas [in which] we have to get deeper as a team of everyone doing the right things.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”