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.

Supposedly
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
forechecking”.

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    Kempe’s hat trick, Cammalleri’s four points power Kings over Canadiens (Video)

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    Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

    After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

    Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

    Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

    LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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    Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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    Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

    Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

    After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

    As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

    St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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    The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

    It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

    You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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    Leafs’ Marleau becomes 18th NHL player to reach 1,500-game milestone

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    Patrick Marleau’s three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs will end two months before his 41st birthday, a summer when many believe his NHL career will come to an end.

    But as he celebrated game No. 1,500 Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the veteran forward was talking about reaching another kind of milestone.

    “I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” he said Wednesday morning via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I don’t know if my wife’s ready to have me at home full-time yet. If I feel good and still think I can contribute then I’ll keep it going.”

    Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.

    Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.

    Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.

    Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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