Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa a late scratch
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 6, 2013 7:24PM
Hawks winger Marian Hossa's (C) is joined by Brandon Saad (L) and Jonathan Toews to celebrate Hossa's goal giving the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead in the first period of the the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild NHL game Tuesday March 5, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:56AM
Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa was a last-minute scratch for the game Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center. The Hawks announced he had an ‘‘upper-body injury,’’ but coach Joel Quenneville didn’t sound terribly concerned after the game.
‘‘Hoss was close to playing,’’ he said. ‘‘He tried to warm up. Hopefully he’s ready for the next game [Friday against the Avalanche in Denver].’’
In his absence, the Hawks dressed seven defensemen, which came into play when center Andrew Shaw and winger Patrick Sharp were hurt during the game. Quenneville said Sharp could ‘‘miss some time,’’ but Shaw was ‘‘not too bad.’’
With winger Michael Frolik on the verge of returning from his illness and Hossa apparently OK, Quenneville didn’t seem to think any roster moves were imminent.
Quite a cushion
The Hawks have a mind-boggling 19-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Division and a 10-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference.
Streak or no streak, that kind of cushion gives Quenneville the option of giving some of his players a day off here or there during this compressed schedule. The Hawks are in the midst of a stretch of seven games in 11 days.
But as the Hawks hit the halfway point of the season, Quenneville said he doesn’t think his guys need any extra breaks.
‘‘I know that the guys that are playing right now, they want more,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘That’s just the way it is in our business. They’re hockey players; they want to play. They want the most ice time they can get, the most quality ice time they can get.’’
The success of the Hawks’ third and fourth lines has made it easier for Quenneville to give his top two lines a few more minutes of rest each game.
‘‘In the shortened season, we want to make sure everybody’s a part of it, but we’ll recognize when it’s too taxing for them,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘And we’ve [made sure they’re rested] by staying away from the rink on non-game days.’’
Frolik still out
Frolik missed his second consecutive game with an illness. The fourth-line winger and penalty-killing specialist is ‘‘questionable’’ to travel with the team Thursday to Denver because Quenneville is wary about having a guy with the flu on a plane with the rest of the players.
‘‘That’s part of it,’’ Quenneville said.