Marian Hossa trying to solve scoring woes

Hossa.jpgThe Chicago Blackhawks finished off a promising season last year with
a disappointing loss in the Conference finals to the Detroit Red Wings.
After the loss, for a team that was as talented and as deep as the
Hawks were, it was just a matter of making a few tweaks in order to
hopefully finally make it to the Stanley Cup finals.

one move was to hand over the full time starting job to Cristobal Huet.
That one didn’t work out so well.

The other was to sign recent
journeyman Marian Hossa to a big contract, a move that would no doubt
put an already deep offensive team over the hump. He appeared in just 57
games last season, but scored an admirable 24 goals and was generally
the player the Blackhawks hoped they had signed.

But he wasn’t
signed to put up numbers in the regular season; his acquisition was
about being a difference maker in the playoffs.

It’s a good thing
Dustin Byguglien has stepped up, because Hossa has largely been
completely absent on the scoreboard, with just two goals in 14 games.
From Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times

”It’s definitely bugging me when the puck’s not going in,” he said,
”because I like to do better scoring goals, and things aren’t going my
way right now. It is in my head. But I try not to put too much pressure
on myself because it’s not going to do any good, right?”

”Sometimes it’s a little thing,” he said. ”Just a little break
when the puck goes off your shin pad or something like that, and all of a
sudden you score another one and things are going your way.”

Here’s a tip: everytime you have a chance to take a shot, try
something other than putting the puck right into the logo in the middle
of the goaltender’s chest.

Despite his lack of production, Hossa has been praised — especially
for the past two games — for his overall game. His forechecking,
defensive reliablity and ability to kill penalties have been a valuable
asset for the Hawks.

Of course, when you’re paying nearly $8 million a season for a
shooter, you’re hoping for a bit more than “hard work and great

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    Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

    Craig Anderson
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    Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

    Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

    Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

    Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

    “I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

    “His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

    The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

    He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

    Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

    Mike Richards

    When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

    And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

    “Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

    Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

    But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

    Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”