Marian Hossa will return against Blues: ‘No reason to wait longer’
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org April 3, 2013 10:17PM
The Blackhawks only made a minor-league deal in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline, but they will add a 430-goal scorer to their lineup for Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
Marian Hossa, who has missed the last seven games with an apparent shoulder injury, will return.
“I felt good [at practice Wednesday], so there’s no reason to wait longer,” said Hossa, who skated in his usual spot at right wing alongside Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews.
Patrick Sharp, however, will miss his 12th game in a row with a shoulder injury. He said he’s still “very close” but has yet to be cleared to play.
“Trust me, it sucks sitting there watching games,” Sharp said. “I want to be out there, and as soon as I’m allowed to, I’ll be playing.”
Dave Bolland, who hurt his foot blocking a shot by Shea Weber on Monday, was back on the ice Wednesday and will be in the lineup, coach Joel Quenneville said. Patrick Kane was sick and missed practice, but Quenneville expects him to play.
General manager Stan Bowman said he did a “lot of listening” up to the trade deadline, but there was “nothing we were close on.”
“We were focused on getting a center,” he said. “We got Michal [Handzus on Monday], and we’re excited about that. We’ve got a lot of depth at every position.”
Bowman was believed to be looking at help on the blue line but didn’t pull the trigger on any moves. With Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank alternating in the sixth spot each night and Steve Montador rounding into form in Rockford, Bowman said he had no regrets about not adding anybody else.
“We have to ask ourselves the question, does it make us better?” he said. “And to make a move just to make a move, we don’t believe in that.”
Montador and Rostislav Olesz cleared waivers. Bowman said he wanted to gauge interest in them around the league but said he is glad to have them as potential injury replacements down the stretch and in the playoffs.
“I would venture there’s no team that has two guys like that in their [AHL] affiliate,” he said.
Handzus, acquired from the San Jose Sharks for a fourth-round draft pick, skated on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Brandon Bollig (called back up from Rockford on Wednesday). Quenneville said Handzus can play wing or center. He likely will take the faceoffs, regardless. He has won 55.6 percent of his draws this year; Kruger has won 45.1.
Handzus played eight games for the Hawks in 2006 — during the team’s dark ages — before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
“It’s totally different,” he said. “I remember 10,000 people in the stands.”