Hossa stars in first scrimmages
September, 13, 2013
By Scott Powers
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa wanted to test his back during the two scrimmages at Notre Dame on Friday.
Two goals and one assist later, Hossa and his back appeared to be doing just fine.
"I liked him," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Hossa. "He did some nice things. He had the puck a lot. He looked all right. I didn't hear any complaints [about the contact on his back.]"
Hossa suffered a back injury in the Stanley Cup finals last season, and it caused numbness in his right leg. He avoided surgery in the offseason and said Thursday his back felt stronger.
Sharp on faceoffs: Quenneville said utilizing forward Patrick Sharp more on faceoffs could be an option this season. Sharp has only been used occasionally on faceoffs in recent seasons, but he does have a lot of experience there and has had some success.
Sharp has won 2,016 of 4,159 faceoffs during his career with the Blackhawks. He was 40-of-62 in the regular season and 32-of-60 in the playoffs last season.
"He can always jump in," Quenneville said of Sharp. "If the guy who is taking them is having a tough night or is on his wrong side, we don't mind Sharpie taking faceoffs anywhere around the ice. It's not a bad option to have knowing you got three guys up front who can take faceoffs. We don't mind that flexibility."
Roster cuts and season-opening roster: Quenneville said he'd likely make his first round of cuts prior to Tuesday's preseason opener against the Detroit Red Wings, and he was unsure whether they'd keep 21, 22 or 23 players for the season.
"We haven't had that discussion yet," Quenneville said about the roster. "I think a lot of that, I'm sure, is going to be determined by salary-cap numbers."
Spot for Bollig: Quenneville believes there is a place on the Blackhawks' roster for Brandon Bollig, one of the team's more physical players.
The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Bollig played in 25 regular season games and five playoff games for the Blackhawks last season.
"I think in today's game I think he's that guy that can play, and he has that element of toughness that everyone is looking for," Quenneville said. "That one-dimensional tough guy, that role, is evaporating from our game. You got to be able to play. You got to play against good players. You got to be comfortable and predictably with the puck. I thought his game last year filled that niche for us real well."