Blackhawks never doubted Marian Hossa would snap goal-scoring drought
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 28, 2013 10:25PM
Chicago Blackhawks right winger Marian Hossa takes part in pre-game warmups before facing the Nashville Predators Tuesday January 24, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: March 2, 2013 12:44AM
ST. LOUIS — Marian Hossa played in his 998th career game on Thursday night, so he has been around long enough to know that sometimes the puck just doesn’t go in. So he wasn’t panicking or pressing during an 11-game stretch that saw him score once. He knew he was playing well, he knew he was generating scoring chances and he knew the goals would come.
And sure enough, they have. After going six games without a goal, the big Blackhawks winger scored twice against Vancouver last Tuesday. And two games later, he potted the game-winner in overtime against Edmonton.
“Sometimes it’s the right time in the right spot,” Hossa said. “But sometimes you have great chances, a great game and you don’t score three games in a row. But inside of you, you feel good about your game. The worst thing is when you don’t feel as well, and you don’t get any chances — that’s when you have to really look for something. But when you feel your game is going, your legs are going, and you don’t get a point, as long as you win, that’s good.”
Hossa’s teammates knew he’d get on the board eventually. And Jonathan Toews, who centers Hossa’s line, thinks the floodgates might have opened with Hossa’s three goals in his last four games.
“Hoss can be that guy that, when things go well, do they ever,” Toews said. “He can turn things on a dime and get hot, and when he is, he’s one of the best players around. He works as hard as anybody, and he’s been great defensively. When the pucks start going in, we’ve got to keep that going.”
Like Toews, Hossa’s two-way skills set him apart from many gifted offensive talents. So coach Joel Quenneville had no complaints with Hossa’s play, even during the drought.
“[With] goal scorers, you keep doing the right things, eventually they go in,” Quenneville said. “One thing about Hoss, he always contributes to our team game, and he does so many things away from [just the] score sheet.”
Even with the goal drought, Hossa has been posting good numbers, with nine goals and six assists — it helps that he scored two goals in each of the Hawks’ first two games. And the Hawks’ record 19-game point streak to start the season made all the bad breaks and near-misses easier to stomach for Hossa.
But now that the goals are coming, he’d like to keep them coming.
“Never can be satisfied, right?” he said. “But I like how the team’s playing. I’m glad I can help the team. Even if I don’t score goals, at least play two ways and help defensively. I’m having fun just doing those things.”