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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Olczyk weighs in on Hossa injury mystery

By ESPNChicago.com

Marian Hossa
Marian Hossa was a surprise late scratch on Monday, and the Hawks are hopeful he will be able to play on Wednesday.
The timing of Marian Hossa's injury remains uncertain, but Ed Olczyk doesn't believe the Chicago Blackhawks knew all day Monday that Hossa might not play in Game 3.

Olczyk said during Monday's broadcast that Hossa was hit by a puck in pregame warmups, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said nothing happened during warmups. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews added to the confusion after the game when he said the team wasn't surprised to learn just before game time that Hossa wouldn't play.

The Hawks turned to Ben Smith, who didn't warm up, to take Hossa's spot just minutes before game time.

"There's all this speculation, the quotes that guys knew there was a chance he wasn't going to play, but I've been around the block a few times, I don't know how you can buy into that with the aspect of knowing that if there was a chance that (Hossa) wasn't going to play you had Sheldon Brookbank and Brandon Bollig taking warmups and then neither one of those guys dresses for the game," Olczyk said Tuesday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000.

"To me it was one of those 'OK, we've got to do something right now. We've got to figure this thing out now.' We're not going to find out a lot. Players on both teams right now are taped together just getting out there to play and with Hossa being out, taking warmup and then not playing the game ... to think that the Blackhawks had an idea that he might not play and then all of a sudden play a guy who didn't take warmups that just doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense."

Toews said playing without Hossa was "something we were prepared for all day, that he might not play."

"It happens sometimes. You're missing one of your best players and you've got to find a way to play without him. We always say it's an opportunity for the guys to step up. The guys that got more ice time (Monday night) played well. We've just got to find a way to win."

Quenneville said after the game that Hossa has an upper-body injury, and he is hopeful Hossa will be able to play in Game 4 on Wednesday.

Considering the circumstances, Olczyk believes Smith, who finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-1 and had just one shot, played well in Game 3.

"I thought the kid played a good game for a kid that worked his rear end off in practice in the morning, goes back to the hotel like he's done for every single playoff game and the next thing you know at about 7:55 local time he's tapped on the shoulder and told 'You're playing tonight' and he's had no warmup. I thought he played a good game. Did he make some mistakes? Absolutely, but I thought he was one of the top six forwards for the Blackhawks (Monday night)."