Hossa injury shakes up Blackhawks’ lineup to no end
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com June 17, 2013 11:46PM
Updated: July 19, 2013 6:38AM
BOSTON — No matter when, where or how Marian Hossa suffered an injury Monday, one thing is for sure — the Blackhawks didn’t look the same without him.
Details are sketchy, but Hossa was a late scratch from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins at TD Garden because of an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said the injury did not occur during warmups, but Hossa was ruled out with such late notice that his replacement, Ben Smith, did not participate in the team’s warmup.
‘‘[Hossa is] day-to-day. We’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the next game,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It was a game-time decision after the warmup.’’
The impact of Hossa’s absence was apparent from the start. Jonathan Toews took the opening face-off flanked by fourth-liners Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik. That left the Hawks with four mix-and-match lines: Brandon Saad-Michal Handzus-Patrick Kane; Patrick Sharp-Dave Bolland-Smith; and Viktor Stalberg-Andrew Shaw-Bryan Bickell following the top line.
‘‘I didn’t mind the lines. I didn’t mind our start,’’ Quenneville said ‘‘I thought we had balance. That was the reason.’’
Hossa’s absence presented the Hawks with a double-barrelled challenge. Not only were they missing one of their best players, but they lost him at the last minute.
‘‘That’s something we were prepared for all day that he might not play,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It happens. You miss one of your best players and you’ve got to find a way to play without him. We always say it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up. Guys that got more ice time [Monday] night played well. We’ve just got to find a way to win.’’
The Hawks insisted the late notice didn’t throw them out of sync.
‘‘We’re grown men. We’re not going to worry about that,’’ Duncan Keith said. ‘‘If he can’t go, he can’t go.’’
Smith, 24, had played in 20 regular-season games in three seasons for the Hawks and just one this season. But he has a knack for producing. He scored the Hawks’ only goal in a 3-1 loss to the Blues in the April 27 regular-season finale. In the 2011 playoffs, he scored three goals on six shots against the Canucks, including a game-winner in overtime that forced a Game 7.
‘‘I didn’t know what happened or what went on [with Hossa],’’ said Smith, who played at TD Garden when he was at Boston College. ‘‘I was just told after warmups that I was going in, so it was kind of a rush to get ready.’’
Smith had one shot and was a minus-1 in 10:23 of ice time — only 2:23 in the third period.
‘‘I did all right,’’ he said. ‘‘It took me a couple of shifts to get settled in. Obviously you always think you could have been better. But overall it was a fun night. I just wish we could have won.’’