Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, arguably the best offensive player on the team over the past several weeks, missed the team’s morning skate on Saturday as they prepare to take on the San Jose Sharks.
Hossa, who had nine goals and three assists in 14 games in the month of January, was instrumental in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night. Hossa had a goal and an assist in that game as the Hawks snapped a four game losing streak.
After practice, head coach Joel Quenneville said that Hossa was merely given a maintenance day, and that he would be in the lineup against the Sharks.
During the morning skate, Hossa was replaced on the top line by Bryan Bickell, who skated with Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews. The other three lines were essentially the same as they were in the victory over Vancouver, with Brandon Pirri centering Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane on the second line. Andrew Shaw skated between Michal Handzus and Brandon Saad on the third line, and Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith, and Brandon Bollig were of course together on the fourth line.
Despite Bickell skating on the top line, he remained on the ice after the practice ended, indicating that he will likely be the healthy scratch for the second game in a row for Chicago.