Just the fact that the jersey with the number #81 and the name, Hossa, on the back, was on the ice, helped the Blackhawks win Game 4. After missing Game 3, with a sudden ailment, Marian Hossa, returned to the ice, to help the Blackhawks even the series at 2-2 with the Bruins. Hossa’s mere presence, even at less than 100%, may have been enough to give the Hawks the ever so slight edge in the game, and as well as grab the momentum in the series, as they will try put the Bruins on the brink of elimination in Game 5. Game 3 seems like such a long time ago, now.
Hossa missed Game 3, after taking warmups with the Hawks, but was taken out of the game, before puck drop, in favor of Ben Smith. Nothing against, Smith, but he isn’t Marian Hossa, and those are mighty big skates to fill. The Hawks desperately missed Hossa’s all-around play, in Game 3, as they were blanked by Boston, 2-0. Before Game 4, former Hawks/current analysts, Tony Amonte and Jeremy Roenick were very critical of Hossa for missing Game 3, and causing a “distraction” for the Hawks. This criticism would be completely understandable, if Amonte or Roenick were to have never missed a game due to injury, but sadly that’s not true, and it’s easy for them to say that Hossa should have played while they watch these games in their cozy office chairs. As for “distraction”, I wouldn’t blame Hossa for any “distraction”. The one’s planting the seeds of conspiricy and doubt, are the one’s who get credit for creating a “distraction”(Amonte and Roenick, I’m looking directly at you guys). However, it is their job to report and analyze the game’s headlines, no matter how absurd they may be.
So with the Bruins carrying all of the momentum, and the Blackhawks fighting off “distractions”, as the teams headed into Game 4, Hossa was back in the lineup, in a big way. Hossa was clearly dealing with an ailment of some kind, as he was playing noticeably shorter shifts than usual. That didn’t matter though, as Hossa had a huge game. Hossa added an assist, as well as helping to generate several scoring chances, and applying lots of pressure on Bruin’s goaltender, Tuuka Rask. In a game that went to overtime, these slight edges, that Hossa brought to the table, may have very well been the difference in the game, as well as a tide changer in the series.
Amonte and Roenick preached about it being the finals, and you have to be tough, and play hurt or whatever. Well, Marian Hossa must have been listening, as he appears to have taken their advice, and as a result, we have a whole new series.