Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Hawks getting healthy at just the right time
By Ben Goessling Special to ESPNChicago.com
Marian Hossa scored the lone goal Tuesday as the Hawks are finally getting healthy.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Patrick Sharp was back on the ice, taking faceoffs and playing nearly 18 minutes after missing a month with an upper-body injury. Marian Hossa scored for the first time in three weeks, after sitting out with an upper-body injury of his own.
On Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, the Blackhawks were as healthy as they've been in a while. And with nine games left in the regular season, it couldn't come at a better time.
Chicago has survived injuries to two of its top six forwards, continuing to roll through its schedule, but the commanding, assertive hockey the Blackhawks played on Tuesday night was indicative of what they can do when they're at full strength.
They limited Minnesota to just 20 shots, with strong contributions from both Sharp and Hossa on the defensive end, and Hossa swooped in front of a Clayton Stoner pass, beating Niklas Backstrom for Chicago's only goal of a 1-0 victory.
"I think we've got a pretty good thing going here right now," Sharp said. "I was just happy to get back in the swing of things with the team. It's a great team to be a part of. ... I think we're a good team, with or without me."
The Blackhawks could get Dave Bolland back from a lower-body injury in the next few days, though coach Joel Quenneville didn't want to presume the center would be back for Friday's game against Detroit. But with Hossa and Sharp both healthy again, the team has a staggering amount of depth.
"We feel pretty good about our team," Hossa said. " Right now, we've got a fifth line out there with some great players, and they don't get in the lineup."