The Blackhawks have started to get some depth contributions and Jonathan Toews is heating up, and it appears it couldn’t have come a second sooner as Chicago will be without top-line winger Marian Hossa through the holiday break.
Hossa, 36, was a late scratch Sunday ahead of the Blackhawks’ tilt against the Sharks — a 4-3 overtime victory — and coach Joel Quenneville confirmed that Hossa will be out of the lineup with an upper-body injury until at least Dec. 27 when Chicago hosts Carolina. There’s no confirmation that Hossa will indeed be back in time for the game against the Hurricanes, but Quenneville seems optimistic.
“Hopefully he can play when we get back after Christmas,” Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. “I don’t think it’s serious at all.”
The specifics of the injury haven’t been released, though there were potential signs that something was ailing Hossa heading into Chicago’s game against the Sharks. Hossa had taken the morning skate off ahead of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers Thursday. However, he managed three points, all assists, in that outing, and was again in the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday, though he played just 16:50.
In 31 games this season, Hossa has five goals and 16 points.
Hossa has already missed three games this season with a lower-body injury, and he has dealt with a number of injuries over the past several seasons in Chicago. He has missed 70 games with the Blackhawks over his seven seasons with the club. The bulk of that, however, was a 22-game stint on the sideline following shoulder surgery in the off-season following his signing in 2009. He was out five games as recently as March 2014 with an undisclosed upper-body ailment.
Hossa’s injury sidelines him just as the Blackhawks are heating up. Chicago’s 7-2-1 record over their past 10 games is third-best in the NHL behind the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche, who have both won five in a row. The Blackhawks have a big challenge ahead of them Tuesday, though, with a trip to Dallas to face the Central Division-leading Stars before the break. Chicago will miss Hossa’s spectacular two-way play against the league’s most potent offense.