BOSTON – Marian Hossa, tied for the Chicago Blackhawks’ scoring lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, was a late scratch for Game 3 at the Boston Bruins.
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported that Hossa appeared to injure himself after taking a shot during warm-ups at TD Garden. As opposed to Bruins fans, who usually injure themselves after taking shots after the game (just jokes, people).
Enter Ben Smith, the 24-year-old winger from Winston-Salem, NC, who last saw action on April 27 in a Blackhawks game at the St. Louis Blues, when he scored a goal in 18:21 of ice time. He has 20 regular-season NHL games to his credit, but played in seven Blackhawks playoff games in 2010-11, scoring three goals.
If you think Smith isn’t ready for this, well, Joel Quenneville thinks you’re wrong. From RRStar.com on the Black Aces in May:
“He’s somebody we won’t be afraid to use,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of forward Ben Smith. “At any point.”
Smith — who’s progress was slowed by hip surgery last year — most likely would have played a more prominent role with the Blackhawks this season had it not been for a broken thumb he suffered two days before the NHL lockout ended. A broken arm six weeks ago set him back as well.
Smith began the game skating with Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp.
The Bruins and Blackhawks were tied 1-1 entering Game 3 on Monday night.