Blackhawks scratch Marian Hossa
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kris Versteeg earned a surprise promotion to the top line in his first game back with the Chicago Blackhawks after Marian Hossa was a late scratch from Saturday night's game against the Nashville Predators with a lower-body injury.
Hossa made the trip to Nashville with the team and was on the ice for the Blackhawks' morning skate, but it was Versteeg, newly acquired from the Florida Panthers via trade on Thursday, who manned the right wing alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp at the opening faceoff.
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"It's not the first time we [lost] a key player," Toews said. "Hossa, everyone knows, is a vital piece to our team defensively and offensively, and we need to be ready to step up, whoever it is that gleans a little more responsibility out of that opportunity. I think it falls on all our shoulders, so it's not the first time we've had to deal with something like that."
Hossa, 34, did not participate in the team's off-day practice on Friday, but coach Joel Quenneville had indicated that he was fine.
"Hossa's day to day. Hopefully, we'll see how he is tomorrow," Quenneville said.
Versteeg had an assist in the Blackhawks' 7-2 loss.
The Blackhawks also saw backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin injured, as he exited Saturday's game late in the first period with what the team late called a lower-body injury.
Khabibulin stayed down on the ice after kicking his left pad out in the direction of a slap shot that missed wide with roughly five minutes to play in the first. Corey Crawford came on in place of Khabibulin, who was able to skate off on his own power.
"We'll know more tomorrow, but it could be a bit," Quenneville said.
The beleaguered veteran had already let in two goals before suffering the injury.
Crawford's entrance marked the 10th consecutive game in which he has appeared. Crawford played 29 minutes of the team's 6-5 win over Ottawa after Khabibulin allowed four goals on 22 shots, and he has started all but four of the team's 20 games this season.
Crawford couldn't turn around Chicago's fortunes though as he allowed five goals on 22 shots.
Eric Single is a contributor to ESPNChicago.com.