Hossa still searching for offensive timing

October, 14, 2013
10/14/13
2:20
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Marian HossaBill Smith/Getty ImagesThe Blackhawks' Marian Hossa has scored just once on 17 shots on goal this season.
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa feels good in one respect, but he's a bit off in another.

While Hossa has cleared some physical hurdles with the health of his back during the Blackhawks' first five games, he's still struggling to locate the timing that has made him an offensive threat throughout his career.

"Still working on it," Hossa said after practice on Monday. "It's not ideal, not where I want it to be still. Still working on it in the practices, the timing of the shots, the timing basically, those type of things. Lots of chances, but you feel you come to the chances, but the timing is still a little bit off. We still have to work on it."

Getting the puck and shooting it haven't been problems. He's had 17 shots on goal, which is two behind the team leader, and had nine total shots (on goal, missed, blocked) against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Hossa has struggled so far putting those opportunities away, scoring once on 17 shots on net for a 5.9 shooting percentage. He had a 14.7 shooting percentage last season and is normally around 12 percent.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville believes Hossa's goals are on the way and has been pleased with Hossa's defense. He leads the NHL with 13 takeaways.

"Another guy, once he starts to get some production, he'll probably be a little bit more comfortable offensively," Quenneville said. "Hoss, you always measure his game knowing that defensively reliable, always in the right spots. But I see more pace to his game. He seems to be skating better, and he's around the puck more and has it a little bit more. Just a matter of time before we get him to top, top speed, which he is as good as there is."

Hossa has been able to slowly get back to form because he hasn't had any other setbacks with his back. He suffered the initial injury during the Stanley Cup finals last season and aggravated it during training camp. He missed all of the preseason games.

Hossa said last week playing in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday would be an important test for his back. On Monday, he reported his back responded well.

"It's actually not too bad," Hossa said. "Pretty pleased with it so far how everything is working in that category. I can be happy there."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
36 16 20 11
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 16
AssistsP. Kane 20
+/-K. Versteeg 17
GAAC. Crawford 1.87