Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Options With Hossa Sidelined

By Colin Likas
Feb 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) skates against the Dallas Stars during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Hossa scores a goal. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) skates against the Dallas Stars during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Hossa scores a goal. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Last night, we had reason to fear Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa might be done for the season when he was sent awkwardly into the boards following a hip check from Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm. While it was a clean play by Lindholm, Hossa lost his balance and went legs-first into the boards. His right leg appeared to crumple upon hitting the boards, and Hossa stayed down on the ice as play continued. He was eventually helped off and didn’t return.

However, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville assuaged our fears when he said Hossa being out for weeks would be pushing how serious the injury is. So, Coach Q seems to think Hossa will be out about a week. Q is typically not very open with injury information, so when he clearly explains what’s happening with a player’s health, we should probably believe him.

But in the meantime, the Blackhawks will need someone on the top-line right wing. Richard Panik was the first guy to get a shot at that against the Ducks, and Andrew Desjardins got a chance later in the game. Now, what will Q do for the next week or so?

I don’t think Stan Bowman will go out and acquire someone specifically to play right wing, especially since Hossa doesn’t project to be out long and he has bigger needs at defense and left wing. So the Blackhawks will probably stay in-house to fill Hossa’s spot. Still, there might be more than a simple shift of one player coming to alleviate this issue.

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Can you imagine a top line with Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews and the likes of Panik or Desjardins? That’d be pretty ugly, and it’d really mute what Toews is able to do on offense, as well as who he can match up against defensively, due to who is on his wings. It could result in the reuniting of Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line, and the promotion of someone else to second-line right wing. Someone like Teuvo Teravainen, perhaps.

Or, Teuvo could slot up to first-line right wing, as he would at least give Toews someone to work with offensively. The downside would still be on the defensive end, as Teuvo is not without his flaws in that area, and Shaw isn’t a strong defensive player either.

I think this is how the lines could shake out for at least Monday against Toronto:

Andrew Shaw-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane

Artemi PanarinArtem Anisimov-Richard Panik

Andrew Desjardins-Phillip Danault-Teuvo Teravainen

Brandon MashinterDennis RasmussenJiri Sekac

Panik has shown a willingness to get to the net, which was readily apparent when he went crashing into Frederik Andersen late in Saturday’s game. He’s certainly not the playmaker Kane is, but Panarin is a great playmaker in his own right, so it’s not a requirement for that second line to have a Kane-like player on the right wing. It’s nice, but not required, especially when his presenece is needed elsewhere. The third line is a familiar sight, as is the fourth line. Keeping some familiarity in the lineup will be beneficial with a mixing of the top two lines.

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I think this lineup not only gives the Blackhawks a fair chance to produce offensively, but also to be successful defensively while Hossa is sidelined. Of course, it’d be nice if there was a more capable player than Mashinter on the fourth line, but I don’t see the Blackhawks making a move with a Rockford forward with Viktor Svedberg recently being called up on defense.

How do you think the Blakchawks will replace Hossa while he is out? Let us know in the comments.

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