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Blackhawks count on Hossa's return

The SportsXchange

Marian Hossa, a surprise scratch before Monday's Stanley Cup Final game Monday, is likely to be back in the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday in Boston.

"I'm not going to get exactly what the injury is or where it occurred but I'm going to say he's likely to play tomorrow night," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville of Hossa's "upper-body injury."

In the Game 3 loss Monday, forward Ben Smith filled Hossa's shifts. He played 10 minutes after having played only one game all season. Hossa has seven goals, eight assists in the postseason and brings a presence the Boston Bruins' defense must mind to the ice.

Smith didn't participate in warmups Monday, but several Blackhawks said Hossa's absence wasn't a surprise, indicating they were aware before the morning skate Hossa might not play. Quenneville said Hossa was not injured in warmups, but the decision to hold Smith out of the pregame was tactical.

"He would have taken warmup if we wanted him to," Quenneville said of holding Smith out of Monday's warmup. "He knew there was a chance he was going to play. He was getting himself ready. I just didn't want to tip our hand that there's something going on."

With Hossa's return, the Blackhawks attempt to even the series 2-2 and guarantee a return to the United Center in Chicago, where they split the first two games of the series with Boston, both ending in overtime.

Other than contending with Patrice Bergeron, who is 24-4 on faceoffs for the Bruins, the Blackhawks would benefit from more tangible production from captain Jonathan Toews.

"You got to make sure if you're not scoring you're doing other things well," Quenneville said. "... I think right now whether it's him or our power play, offensively I think we're all a little gun shy in that area. We want to make sure there's some composure there, get a spark on our power play, go five-on-five.

"One thing with Johnny, you can always measure how he's going to be competing, because game in, game out he leaves it out there. Offensively maybe pressing in that area. Certainly it would be nice to get some production and finish to show for it."
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