Posts Tagged ‘Marian Hossa’

Key storylines heading into USA vs. Slovakia

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quick-parise

Was it the right decision for Dan Bylsma to start Jonathan Quick at goal over Ryan Miller? (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

THE GAME: 
USA vs. Slovakia in the Group A opener; 7:30 eastern on NBCSN in the U.S. and CBC in Canada. We’ll be live-blogging the game here at 7:30 AM eastern.

Upset potential: After a stunning silver medal win in Vancouver, the Americans won’t catch anyone by surprise in Sochi…but the Slovakians just might. A team that’s trotting out Branko Radivojevic and Tomas Kopecky on its second line clearly can’t match the depth of Team USA, but this team comes in with an emotional edge. The death of 2010 leading scorer Pavol Demitra in a 2011 plane crash continues to resonate with this group and they’ll be looking to honor him with their performance. Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara are a handful on a regular day. With thoughts of Demitra in their hearts, they could be miraculous.

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  • Published On Feb 12, 2014
  • Top Line: Tomas Vokoun retiring?; Bettman on NHL relocation; more links

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    Goaltender Tomas Vokoun of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Tomas Vokoun’s agent denied reports that the goalie was considering retirement. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • A report out of the Czech Republic yesterday suggested that Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun was considering retirement as a result of the blood clots that have him sidelined. His agent quickly jumped in to deny it.

    • Gary Bettman calls the rumors of NHL expansion and relocation “gratifying,” but says there’s nothing to them at the moment. Of course, this is the same guy who said the Thrashers wouldn’t relocate right before they did, so…

    • Jaromir Jagr hasn’t seen a minute of preseason action, but he’s still managed to impress coach Peter DeBoer. I’m guessing it was his fireman skills.

    • If you’re Canadian and over 50, this is the anniversary of one of the greatest days of your life. But I probably didn’t need to remind you of that.

    • So exactly how many more chances is Brad Richards going to get to prove that he hasn’t completely lost it?

    • Careful management will be required to keep Marian Hossa in Chicago’s lineup this season. If it means keeping him healthy for the playoffs, the Hawks should mix in all the off days they can.

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  • Published On Sep 28, 2013
  • Chicago Blackhawks look to youth to fill holes in post-Stanley Cup roster

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    Ben Smith of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Winger Ben Smith, who saw one game of Cup final duty, must prove he’s more than a fill-in. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    For Stan Bowman, celebrating will have to wait.

    The general manager of the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks faces a daunting task over the next few days as he tries to put his team in the best possible position to repeat next season.

    It’s a different scenario than he faced in 2010, with fewer question marks and fewer cap issues. But the decisions he makes over the next week could mean several new faces in the lineup come October.

    There could be a pair of top-six roles up for grabs. The threat of potential cap-recapture penalties has led to speculation that Marian Hossa could be bought out in the next few days. Likely? No, because the decision could be put off until after next season after another title bid…but it’s possible.

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  • Published On Jun 26, 2013
  • Top Line: Musings on Game 4 thriller, Kris Letang’s situation; more links

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    Tuukka Rask in Stanley Cup Final Game 4

    It was a crazy night in Boston, and not a good one for Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. (Harry How/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    A super-sized annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • “The wheels came off and nothing was safe,” writes Bruce Arthur.

    • And just like that, it’s time to settle in for a long series, kids.

    • The Hawks won this game by playing a brand of hockey that would make the ’80s Oilers proud.

    It wasn’t much from an artistic standpoint, but Game 4 illustrated what gripping, unpredictable entertainment hockey can be.

    • Marian Hossa wasn’t anything close to 100 percent last night, but he made an effort that inspired his teammates.

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  • Published On Jun 20, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Hawks’ Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews on top line for Game 4

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    Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be on the same line for Game4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

    Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have one point between the two of them so far in the Cup final. (NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Joel Quenneville knows that past performance is no guarantee of future results. But after watching his team held to just two goals during the last nine periods by Tuukka Rask and the smothering defense of the Boston Bruins, he knows his Chicago Blackhawks won’t have a future if he doesn’t try something drastic.

    So he’s counting on a unit that led the comeback against the Detroit Red Wings to right the ship in Game 4. It’s been confirmed that he will reunite Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell for tonight’s contest.

    The only question is: what took so long?

    Outside of a penalty-killing shift in Game 3, Quenneville has been reluctant to put his two best weapons on the ice at the same time in this series. Instead, he skated Toews between fourth-line checkers Michal Frolik and Marcus Kruger for most of Game 3, before trying him with Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg. Neither combination generated much of anything, which opened him up to some criticism for not reuniting Toews and Kane when Game 3 was still up for grabs.

    MUIR: Blackhawks must keep it simple in Game 4

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  • Published On Jun 19, 2013
  • Top Line: Stanley Cup Final game day; Avs to pass on Seth Jones; more links

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    Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks may play in Stanley Cup Final Game 4

    Marian Hossa’s injury has been the subject of much intrigue in the Stanley Cup Final. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    A super-sized annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Marian Hossa is “likely” to play in Game 4, but Ben Smith is ready to step in if he can’t go. Even if the big horse is in, how much does he have to give?

    • After all, we still don’t know what’s wrong with the guy. My guess? A touch of the ol’ rinderpest. Yeah, that might be a lousy guess.

    • Here’s the best story you’ll read on Zdeno Chara. Because Bruce Arthur wrote it.

    • A big reason the series is going Boston’s way right now? Patrice Bergeron is winning the battle against Jonathan Toews.

    • After years of being brushed under the carpet, the Hawks have become a viable part of the conversation on Chicago talk radio.

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  • Published On Jun 19, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Blackhawks feel dotty after losing face-off battle in Game 3

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    Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins

    Boston’s Patrice Bergeron schooled the Blackhawks in the face-off circles on Monday night. (NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Sarah Kwak

    BOSTON — One team was guaranteed to be working itself out of a hole after Game 3. That it’s Chicago has more than a little to do with the face-off totals in Boston’s 2-0 win at TD Garden on Monday night. The Blackhawks, who ranked No. 11 in the league with a 50.8 percent win rate during the regular season, let the top-ranked Bruins own the dots. Boston won 40 of the 56 total draws, an absurd 71 percent.

    Center Patrice Bergeron, the 2012 Selke Trophy winner and this year’s runner-up, led the way for Boston by going 24-for-28, including 9-for-10 in the offensive zone. When a team like the Blackhawks relies largely on a puck-possession game, face-offs become critical, especially when it’s struggling to generate offense. Starting most plays without the puck has been an added hindrance against Boston’s stifling defense. In offensive zone draws, the Blackhawks were a dismal 6-for-23, allowing the Bruins to regularly take control and turn play the other way. Chicago’s power play, which has sputtered along at 11.3 percent for the playoffs and 0-for-11 against the Bruins, has also suffered from an inability to win draws.

    “It’s tough to get a clean entry,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville explained on Tuesday.  “I think we might have to get a little indirect plays to get possession on our entries. It starts with losing the draw initially. That’s the area we have to get better.  Hopefully you don’t have to resort to the entry. We’re still going to have to find a way to get through it and find ways to have possession … I think we’re looking at ways that we can at least get it closer to a 50/50 chance for us on most draws.”

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013
  • Top Line: Chicago’s Stanley Cup Final hole looks deep, more links

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    The Blackhawks look on during their Game 3 loss in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Ugly history: Game 3 losers have lost the Cup final 84 percent of the time since 1939. (Gail Oskin/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • You remember that 3-1 deficit that Chicago rallied from against the Red Wings? This 2-1 hole they’ve dug for themselves against the Bruins seems a lot deeper, doesn’t it?

    • It’s a rare day that the Boston Globe pulls Dan Shaughnessy out from behind the pay-wall. Take advantage of this while you can.

    • There’s Danny Paille, scoring his second winner in as many games. Because apparently Moe Lemay wasn’t available.

    • With Marian Hossa a late scratch, Chicago needed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to step up…so the Hawks were pretty much DOA at that point.

    • Ben Smith earned a last-minute promotion from the Black Aces for a Stanley Cup start in the town where he made his name as a college hockey hero.

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Game 3 Report Card for Boston’s 2-0 win over Chicago

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    Tuukka Rask

    Tuukka Rask made 28 stops in Game 3 and earned his third clean slate of the postseason. (Elise Amendola/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Here is a completely subjective look at some of the key elements in Boston’s convincing 2-0 win over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final:

    Goaltending

    Corey Crawford, Chicago: Most nights, a .943 save percentage puts you in the mix for the Three Stars. This just wasn’t one of those nights. Crawford was sharp, especially on a second-period power play that saw the shorthanded Bruins generate three premium chances, and he robbed Patrice Bergeron on an in-tight chance to keep the game close in the first. He didn’t have much chance on Bergeron’s eventual insurance goal, but he was beaten high glove — for the second time in a row — by Daniel Paille for the winner. The B’s know he can be exploited there until he proves otherwise. B

    Tuukka Rask, Boston: I’ll go out on a limb and guess there hasn’t been a less strenuously contested Stanley Cup Final shutout in a long time. Rask made 28 stops to post his third clean slate of the postseason, but he was rarely challenged thanks to a concerted effort from his teammates, some weak puck decisions by the Hawks, and 17 (!) shots that simply missed the mark. When you see guys trying to play it a little too cute like that, it’s a sign that a goalie has gotten into their heads. A

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: With Marian Hossa out, Blackhawks go cold in Game 3

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    Blackhawks fall 2-0 to Bruins in Game 3

    Ben Smith (left) did his best in Game 3, but couldn’t replace the injured Marian Hossa. (Elise Amendola/AP)

    By Sarah Kwak

    BOSTON — The surprise came just before the puck dropped in Boston’s 2-0 Game 3 win in the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night. After taking warmups, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa never came back out of the tunnel and onto the ice at TD Garden. He appeared only on the list of scratches, presumably ailing. (Hossa is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville later clarified.) He was replaced by winger Ben Smith, who was making his postseason debut and playing in just his second game all year.

    GAME 3: Recap | Boxscore | Highlights | Photos | Complete schedule

    According to the Blackhawks, however, it was only a surprise to those outside their room. Captain Jonathan Toews said the team was aware all day that the man who shares the team scoring lead (7 goals, 15 points) this postseason might not play. They officially made the call just before game time, when Smith was told to get dressed and get warm.

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013


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