Blackhawks need Marian Hossa at his best
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org February 11, 2012 11:24PM
Hawks winger Marian Hossa has struggled offensively and defensively since the All-Star break. | Getty Images
Updated: March 13, 2012 10:39AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Asked if he needs his stars to play like stars and lead the way, coach Joel Quenneville appeared to nod his head in approval but said, “We need everybody.”
But their lack of production, specifically from winger Marian Hossa, stands out like 6-8 enforcer John Scott in a group of kids. The Hawks desperately need Hossa, who was gaining Hart Trophy consideration during the All-Star break, to return to form as soon as possible.
“It’s not a fun time right now,” Hossa said.
Since the All-Star Game, Hossa has no points and a minus-6 rating in six games. Before the break, the scoring chances piled up every game as he propelled whatever line he was on. Now, they’re not even there.
“For whatever reason right now, it seems like I’m not getting any chances,” Hossa said. “It just seems like you’re battling and battling, and for whatever reason, the chances are not coming.
“You have to work almost double [and] harder than before to find the [right] spots. And it’s not there right now.”
The most troubling thing is that his defensive play has mirrored the Hawks’ defensive breakdowns during the skid. Hossa is considered one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL and is often praised by Quenneville for his defense. But he has been out of place on the penalty kill and at even strength like others.
“Everybody has stretches where you’re more comfortable and confident with the puck,” Quenneville said. “The more he checks, the more we’re going to have the puck or he’s going to have it.”
Without a player like Hossa playing well, it’s no surprise the Hawks are in a free fall.
“We just have to get out of it,” Hossa said. “I know we’ve talked about it. But we can’t put our heads down. We just have to battle through it.”