The Blackhawks victory over the Penguins at Soldier Field has come with a cost. Marian Hossa left the game early with the classic “upper-body injury” and that injury to the northern half of Marian Hossa’s being will cost him more than one game.
The Blackhawks announced on Monday that Hossa is going to be out two to three weeks.
Which is nothing new. Throughout his tenure in Chicago Hossa has missed time due to injury, but I can’t help but wonder if this latest news will lead to Stan Bowman changing his stance on this year’s trade deadline.
The deadline is Wednesday, and before Saturday night’s game at Soldier Field, Bowman addressed the media about the team’s plans. Following St. Louis’ move to get Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, everyone wanted to know what the Blackhawks planned to do to counter the move.
In short: nothing.
“You can’t be reactionary that way because those guys haven’t even played a game yet in St. Louis,” Bowman said. “You kind of have to see how it all shakes out. But we’re more focused on what we can do.
“We have to play good hockey. If you’re going to get to the final, you’ve got to play really good teams anyway and beat them along the way. We certainly rose to the challenge last year…so I think we’re going to have play really, really strong to beat them if we face them down the road.”
Bowman also pointed to the trade for Kris Versteeg earlier this season, saying that was the team’s “big move.” Well, putting aside the fact that the Big Move has 22 points in 43 games with the Hawks this season — though he did end his 11-game scoring drought on Saturday — I’m just not sure that’s enough.
Say what you want about the Blues trade for Miller, and whether or not the price they paid was worth it, what the move did was leave the Blues extremely deep down the middle at center – which is certainly a position the Blackhawks cannot say they can match, considering the conga line that has been the second-line center this season.
But now that Hossa is out for a few weeks, maybe Bowman will decide to be a bit more active in the coming days before the deadline comes and goes. Even if Hossa is back in a few weeks, it’d be nice to have a bit more depth on the roster heading into the playoffs.
Who that would be, I don’t know. I know that my pipe-dream is Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler. There are reports Kesler wants out of Vancouver, and he’s wanted out for a while. With Vancouver fighting for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference right now, I’m not sure how willing the Canucks will be to grant his wish, but there are certainly a number of teams interested.
And I think Kesler would be a perfect fit for the Hawks. First, he’d be an immediate answer to the second-line center question that has seemingly haunted this team since the dawn of time. Plus he has plenty of experience playing with Patrick Kane from the Olympics in 2010 and 2014. He’s talented enough offensively that he’d make Kane better and Kane would make him better, plus he’s a two-way center whose defense would help make up for some of Kane’s defensive shortcomings.
It all just makes too much damn sense, though I don’t see it happening because of Kesler’s salary and the limited cap space the Blackhawks have.
Even if it’s not Kesler, I just feel like Bowman needs to do something to improve this team. And it’s not just your typical “they need to make a move to make a move” sentiment. The Blues were already extremely good and they got better this week, even if it’s minimally better. The Ducks are really good. The Sharks are good. The Avs are good. The Kings are good.
The entire damn Western Conference is really good.
The Blackhawks are good, and have won two of the last four Stanley Cups. It’s just I don’t think being good will be good enough. I hope Bowman feels the same.
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