It had been nine long months since Hossa had last played against the Coyotes. The reason why has been overwrought, over-explained and shown too much on TV. Hossa’s return had been anticipated, and his three-point performance against the Los Angeles Kings in the Blackhawks’ season opener erased any doubts that he’d have problems on the ice. Their second game, played in Phoenix, was hyped as the first big test of Hossa’s mindset and performance.
The Blackhawks had already coughed up a Coyotes goal by Antoine Vermette before Patrick Sharp sniped a wrist shot over Smith’s shoulder to tie the game 2-2 halfway through the second period. Nearly eight minutes later, Hossa would send a wrist shot past Smith after momentarily losing the puck following a spectacular breakaway. In the third period, it only took Hossa 14 seconds to really stick it to the Coyotes by tipping the puck in behind Smith, who protested in vain to have the goal waived off. Hossa was in top form during the game, just as he had been the day before against the Kings. Any doubts that lingered about the effects of his concussion were now irrelevant.
After the Blackhawks defeated the Coyotes 6-4, Hossa downplayed the issue of whether he used the infamous hit as motivation to exact revenge on the Coyotes. “No hard feelings. Tried to take it as another game for me, just prepare as I always do.” He then went on to praise the four line combinations, comparing their performance to that of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Revenge is sweet and best served cold. Hossa’s revenge on the Coyotes was to score twice on arguably their best goalie, and there was no better place to serve it than on a sheet of ice.