Marian Hossa trying to solve scoring woes
The Chicago Blackhawks finished off a promising season last year with a disappointing loss in the Conference finals to the Detroit Red Wings. After the loss, for a team that was as talented and as deep as the Hawks were, it was just a matter of making a few tweaks in order to hopefully finally make it to the Stanley Cup finals.
Supposedly one move was to hand over the full time starting job to Cristobal Huet. That one didn’t work out so well.
The other was to sign recent journeyman Marian Hossa to a big contract, a move that would no doubt put an already deep offensive team over the hump. He appeared in just 57 games last season, but scored an admirable 24 goals and was generally the player the Blackhawks hoped they had signed.
But he wasn’t signed to put up numbers in the regular season; his acquisition was about being a difference maker in the playoffs.
It’s a good thing Dustin Byguglien has stepped up, because Hossa has largely been completely absent on the scoreboard, with just two goals in 14 games. From Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times:
''It’s definitely bugging me when the puck’s not going in,’' he said, ''because I like to do better scoring goals, and things aren’t going my way right now. It is in my head. But I try not to put too much pressure on myself because it’s not going to do any good, right?’'
''Sometimes it’s a little thing,’' he said. ''Just a little break when the puck goes off your shin pad or something like that, and all of a sudden you score another one and things are going your way.’'
Despite his lack of production, Hossa has been praised -- especially for the past two games -- for his overall game. His forechecking, defensive reliablity and ability to kill penalties have been a valuable asset for the Hawks.
Of course, when you’re paying nearly $8 million a season for a shooter, you’re hoping for a bit more than “hard work and great forechecking”.