Marian Hossa returns and Corey Crawford starts when the Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at the United Center.
Hossa missed the last two games before the Christmas break with an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said last week that it was more precautionary than anything to hold Hossa out until after the break, and Hossa said the extra time benefitted him.
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“Obviously we had the nice break, a couple extra days definitely helped settle down,” said Hossa. “Now I just tested it on the ice, and it felt great.”
Hossa was in his usual top-line spot with Teuvo Teravainen and Jonathan Toews this morning. The second and fourth lines were the same as they were against Dallas. Andrew Shaw was back on the third line with Bryan Bickell and Dennis Rasmussen.
While Hossa wouldn’t divulge what the injury was, he said it happened in a game prior to the break and got worse against the Buffalo Sabres – “after the game is was smarter not to play, just take the break and make sure I get it back to normal,” he said.
“It’s tough to fill his spot but it’s good seeing him get those extra couple of days to get the rest,” Bickell said. “He’s been in 1,200 games and over 200 playoff games; he’s still in great shape but circumstances like that, it’s precautionary. It’s a long season. Good to have him back tonight.”
Rob Scuderi, who took a redirected puck to the face against the Stars, is also expected to play tonight.
It’ll be another reunion for the Blackhawks tonight, with Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom now with the Hurricanes. Versteeg has five goals and 14 assists for Carolina while Nordstrom scored his second goal of the season against New Jersey on Saturday night.