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Marian Hossa ‘likely’ for Game 4, but Smith will be ready

Torey Krug Ben Smith

Torey Krug, Ben Smith

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Updated: July 20, 2013 6:51AM



BOSTON — Marian Hossa is “likely” to play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, according to coach Joel Quenneville. But it’s a safe bet that Ben Smith probably will be on the ice for warmups this time, too. Just in case.

Hossa was a surprise last-minute scratch with an upper-body injury after taking warmups before the Hawks’ 2-0 loss in Game 3 on Monday night. Players said afterward that they knew well ahead of time that Hossa would be a game-time decision and might not play. Yet Smith, Hossa’s replacement, was not on the ice for warmups.

Quenneville said Smith was getting ready off the ice.

“He knew there was a chance he was going to play,” Quenneville said. “He was getting himself ready, I just didn’t want to tip our hand that there was something going on.”

But Patrick Sharp said it was pretty hectic for Smith.

“That was crazy,” Sharp said. “He didn’t really have the typical gameday preparation. I don’t even know if he had a nap or a decent meal. He didn’t even take warmup. He just kind of showed up to the rink, put the skates on and jumped into the Stanley Cup Final. For a guy that works as hard as Benny does, to be rewarded like that, I thought he played great. That’s something that he’ll always remember, and it kind of gave us a big lift to see him roll in here and put his gear on last night.”

“All this preparation and nutrition is overrated,” Sharp joked. “Just put the skates on and play, I guess.”

As for all the secrecy surrounding Hossa’s injury — there were unconfirmed reports on the Internet saying it was a neck, or a groin, or an illness — Quenneville said it was “self-explanatory.” Boston coach Claude Julien understood.

“There’s times where you have to protect your players, and I understand it,” Julien said. “I know it’s frustrating for you guys as media. You’re trying to share that information. The most important thing for us — we can take the heat for that — is protecting your players.”

Hossa is tied for the team lead in postseason scoring with seven goals and eight assists in 19 games. His absence was felt in every facet of the game — 5-on-5, power play and penalty kill — and forced a shakeup of the lines.

“He’s a big part of our team,” Brent Seabrook said. “We missed him [Monday] night.”



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