Big Hoss: Hossa’s empty net goal may not have been the game winner…actually, it never went in the net, but that’s not important. What’s important is the amount of hustle Hossa puts into the play. As you can see in the GIF, Hoss flips the puck up, getting it out of the zone and out of danger. He then skates as hard as he can to get ahead of the pack to put himself in a no lose situation. If they don’t drag him down, then he gets his easy empty netter. And if they do…well, we saw how that story ends. His knack for puck protection serves him well as he forces the D to drag him down, giving him the goal with the puck never having to go in. It’s not only his determination while banged up. It’s the fact that he puts that effort into their first game back after winning the cup. It’s easy for teams to get distracted or complacent by what they’ve already accomplished, but Hossa still has the drive, the hunger, the strength of will to keep motivated and keep winning. One cup wasn’t enough for Hossa, and neither was the second. Hossa, and more importantly the Hawks, all came to defend their title. I find that to be a good sign, a great way to start the season. The Caps didn’t make it easy for the Hawks either. This wasn’t a game where the Hawks floated through and then squeaked by. I stayed away from the rust factor this time, but suffice it to say that any issues the Hawks had should be remedied within a few games.
Maybe I’m just over analyzing a few plays that happened in the first game of the season. I can easily believe that. At the same time, Rocky Wirtz and the Blackhawks have given Chicago a lot of reasons to be excited. That dedication, on and off the ice, has produced an air of quality that is tangible. This season may not be as smooth as last year, but I suspect the same amount of pride will be beaming from Hawks fans everywhere.