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Well, Coach, what took you so long?
The only major news to come out of Chicago Blackhawks' practice on Monday is the formation of a new line for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
|Marian Hossa will be paired with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik on the Hawks' newest line.|
Bolland and Hossa were destined to be reunited the moment Joel Quenneville put Patrick Sharp back at wing. It was only a matter of time.
“We’re going to try that,” Quenneville said. “We’re going to try that group together … we’re going to need that line to be effective.”
Hossa’s best stretch of play came with a true centerman, Jonathan Toews, early in the season. As effective as Patrick Sharp was at center, during the playoffs last year, it’s still not his strong position. So now Bolland gets another try there.
Bolland and Hossa have played together previously but didn’t demonstrate the chemistry hoped for when both signed contracts two offseasons ago.
The difference this time around might be in Bolland’s confidence. He has 12 points in his past 13 games, about as good a stretch as he’s had as a Hawk.
If he can feed Hossa the puck, where and when he wants it, maybe the old No. 81 will return for good.
“I know he’s more effective when he does have it,” Quenneville said. “He protects it and has strength in that area and all of a sudden something positive develops. Hossa, last game, played where he did have the puck more and was more of a factor.”
Quenneville’s right. Hossa looked a little like his old self against Phoenix. With a passing centerman next to him now, maybe the Hawks will finally have a second line that can contribute five-on-five. Quenneville didn’t dismiss the notion that they would have checking line duties as well.
All of a sudden Frolik, Bolland, and Hossa have become three important pieces to the Hawks puzzle. Now let’s see if they fit together.
Jake Dowell and Patrick Kane missed practice on Monday due to illness. Fernando Pisani remains out after leaving Friday’s game in Dallas. Duncan Keith was given the day off.
The Quote: “He takes the brunt of everything which some nights he shouldn’t. Too many nights he takes the brunt of the attention from the media and when things aren’t going well he sits in his locker and answers every question.”- Brian Campbell on captain Jonathan Toews