Blackhawks

Marian Hossa's return a welcome sight for Blackhawks

Marian Hossa's return a welcome sight for Blackhawks

Marian Hossa looked like he hadn’t missed a day.

Despite being out with an upper-body injury since Dec. 20, Hossa was back batting for pucks, skating well and throwing in a successful slap shot in the Blackhawks’ practice-ending shootout drill.

“It’s exciting to have him back in the lineup but more importantly, for his sake, he looked really good out there. Looks like he hasn't missed a beat,” Kane said. “Any time you get a player of that caliber that adds so much to your lineup back in, hopefully he’s playing tomorrow and it should give us a big boost.”

Hossa is expected to play on Thursday when the Blackhawks host the Buffalo Sabres and the right wing can’t help but give the team a boost. The Blackhawks are 1-4-1 in Hossa’s absence – since he only played three minutes of that Ottawa game, you might as well include it. They’ve suffered in a few categories without him, from puck possession to scoring. So Hossa, his puck-possession, puck-battle success rate and his 16 goals, are definitely welcomed back.

Now to see if Hossa goes right back to the great level he was at prior to his injury.

“We’ll see,” Hossa said. “Hopefully it’s not going to be too bad, but obviously missing close to two weeks, maybe you can look at it as it’s not that much. But when you play in the middle of the season, you can feel it. So definitely… [I] want to make sure I get myself into the game.”

Again, if it means anything, Hossa looked great on Wednesday. Missing just over two weeks was frustrating for Hossa, who has played great this season, but it wasn’t worth rushing back.

“I would love to be back faster, but at this point, it was smarter to wait,” he said. “Obviously you don’t want to lose too much when you feel you’ve got things going your way, but sometimes you cannot help it.”

The Blackhawks have been good about wading through injuries this season but you only have to look at their record to know how much they missed Hossa. Who knows if he picks up right where he left off but, even if the goals aren’t there immediately, the rest of his much-needed game should be.

“He’s been a big part of our offense with timely goals this year, plus you use him in all situations,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Just his presence adds so much to our room and our team, and just to watch him in practice you can see that. It was nice having him.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw had a terrific 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He set a career high with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) despite missing 19 games due to injuries and averaged 15:55 of ice time, which was the highest of his NHL career.

When asked to explain why he believes he had the best offensive output of his career, Shaw pointed to one thing.

“Honestly I just think it was the hunger for the game," Shaw said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "I missed nine months with knee surgery and concussions. I battled back to get back to where I needed to be and just started having fun again. Maybe I’m bigger, stronger, older. I think I’ve been in situations in games so many times that you’re better at reacting to them so I think that maybe that has a little bit to do with it.”

The Blackhawks reacquired Shaw because they've lacked some jam in their game over the past couple seasons. And looking at the other moves GM Stan Bowman has made this summer, it's clear that's an area they prioritized.

Shaw noticed it too and he's excited to see how it'll all come together this coming season.

“I still have to be me," Shaw said. "I still have to go out there and work and compete and bring the energy I’ve always brought. I think it’s the intensity and the love of the game that pushes me to do that so I think it’s something that others feed off of. With a couple other guys they brought in, too, we got a little bit more grit, a little bit more defensive game. I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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