Q turns to Hossa for spark in shootouts
February, 14, 2013
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesMarian Hossa is 12-for-40 career in shootouts, but he will get a chance with the Hawks.CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday he plans to turn to veteran forward Marian Hossa in hopes of improving their shootout play.
The Blackhawks dropped to 1-3 in shootouts this season with Tuesday's shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Hossa hasn't taken a shootout chance this season and hasn't been used much in recent years. He was 0-4 in shootouts last season, 0-2 in 2010-2011 and 2-5 in 2009-2010. He's 12 for 40 for his career.
"It's not an easy situation to be in," Quenneville said after Thursday's practice at the United Center. "I know we got (Hossa) in there. We'll get him going.
"(We haven't used Hossa) just because that third spot we haven't gotten production from it in that spot. It looks like it's an automatic (with Hossa.) Hopefully, it becomes an automatic."
The team's ability in shootouts is one of the few areas of concern for the Blackhawks as they've gotten off to an NHL-best 10-0-3 start to the season. Quenneville has stressed he believes shootouts will be a deciding factor this season where teams end up in the standings.
"We've talked about it," Quenneville said. "We're visiting with the goalies and shooters as well and the order and the selection process. It's obviously disappointing. It's one stat that you can say we can be better at it. It's something we prioritize the importance of those valuable points. Being 1-3 on it is not very good. We'll try to rectify that."
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been the shootout mainstays for Quenneville and proven to be successful there. The duo has scored 41 of the team's 57 shootout goals over the past five seasons. Toews has scored twice on four chances this season, and Kane has one goal on four tries.
The Blackhawks' problem has been finding a consistent third shooter. Patrick Sharp, Nick Leddy and Patrick Sharp were all given opportunities this season, but failed to score.
Prior to Quenneville talking on Thursday, Hossa said he didn't mind being overlooked as a choice in the shootouts.
"To tell you the truth, I felt like maybe some guys perform better in the shootout than others," Hossa said. "I think we have so much skill on the team, so I don't have to between those top 3 guys. I don't make a big deal out of it. It just feels like other guys have better moves on the shootout than others. The coach feels that way, so I'm OK with it."