Hossa will be a welcome sight to say the least; the Blackhawks have struggled badly in his two-week absence, and may very well be suffering from a potentially season-changing problem. More than that, though, Hossa’s knack for driving puck possession will be incredibly useful to have back. With Jonathan Toews playing his best hockey of the season, adding No. 81 into the mix could be devastating for opposing teams.
With 50 points in 57 games, Hossa has been an offensive force in 2013-14 just as he always has been and has shown minimal signs of his age (35). His defensive game — especially on the backcheck — has been as exemplary as ever, as he trails only Pavel Datsyuk in takeaways per game and has been his usual excellent self positionally.
Inserting Hossa back into the lineup should help on several fronts. As mentioned, it will almost inevitably aid an already-streaking Toews simply by virtue of his gaining a superior linemate. There will also likely be a kind of trickle-down effect on the second and third forward lines due to the additional depth that Hossa being in the lineup entails. Chicago badly needs this; its offense has been atypically unreliable in his absence, and for the first time all season, the team has been regularly losing games because of an inability to convert chances into goals.