Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa (81) controls the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The Chicago Blackhawks held a brief practice on Saturday afternoon after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators, but despite the bad vibes from losing to arguably the worst team in the Central Division, the Blackhawks did get some good news going into their Sunday showdown with the Detroit Red Wings.
That news is that they will likely be getting back forward Marian Hossa into their lineup. Hossa has missed the Hawks’ last five games with an upper body injury that he sustained in the team’s victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1 at Soldier Field, and the Hawks have definitely missed him, going through several line combinations and racking up a 2-3-0 record. Two of those losses came to the Colorado Avalanche, and have knocked the Blackhawks back into third place in the divisional race.
On Saturday, Hossa rejoined the top line during practice, skating with Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg. Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus were joined on the second line by Bryan Bickell at the skate, while Patrick Sharp was dropped all the way to the third line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.
It will be interesting to see if the line combinations were just an experiment for Joel Quenneville, or if the coach will actually try them in a game against a tough opponent on home ice. Either way, the Blackhawks are eagerly looking for a way to get their playoff push kick-started, and getting Hossa back should go a long way in terms of helping to make that happen.