Though they dropped a tightly contested affair to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, the bigger news to come out of the weekend was the absence of Marian Hossa from the lineup.
Hossa was a scratch for Saturday’s game after notching two points in Hawks’ previous game against the Winnipeg Jets. He had a goal and an assist in the game, and looked brilliant for the better part of 60 minutes next to Patrick Kane.
Surprisingly, Hossa missed the team’s morning skate on Saturday and didn’t make it into the lineup against Boston. The Kane line played well in his absence, as Viktor Stalberg returned from his leg injury, but there remains a large degree of concern surrounding Hossa.
Hossa was held out with what the Hawks have called an “upper-body injury”. The always vague Hawks’ staff has left the rest of the hockey world to only speculate on what could be wrong with Hossa, as is usually the case with injuries.
Many indicated it could be the flu. Ray Emery missed practice last week with the flu, and it took its toll on quite a few players on the roster last season. But the fact that Hossa was a no-show at Monday’s practice should definitely escalate the concern with the team set to head to Phoenix for a tilt on Tuesday.
If it was another player without the injury history of Hossa, particularly since he’s joined the Blackhawks, the concern level might not be so high. But the fact that it is Hossa, who hasn’t played more than 65 games in two seasons with the Hawks, definitely raises questions about the star winger.
It is early in the season, so the fact that he’s missing a couple games early on shouldn’t worry too many. If he makes the trip to Phoenix at all, then it’s a good sign and it’s just a precautionary measure to save his health in the first few weeks of the season.
However, there’s also that other side. That “what if it’s something serious?” that Hawks fans can only wonder about. Not that the organization will offer any sort of real injury update for anyone outside of the team. Either way, we should know something tangible about the health of Marian Hossa as the week progresses.
Update: Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville has said that Hossa will make the two-game road trip to Phoenix and Colorado. Whether or not he will play Tuesday against the Coyotes, however, remains up in the air. Stay tuned.