The Blackhawks are almost, almost back to full strength. The injured Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane took part in the morning skate at the United Center, but neither will be able to play tonight against the Red Wings. Both hope to be on the ice and in action Sunday when the Hawks host the Los Angeles Kings.
In the meantime, it looks like the injured Fernando Pisani and Viktor Stalberg won't be able to play tonight either. To give themselves some depth, the Blackhawks signed veteran center Ryan Johnson, who had played one game with the Hawks' AHL affiliate in Rockford since being signed after a tryout earlier this month. Johnson has played in 667 career NHL regular-season games over 12 seasons with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks. He'll wear uniform No. 17 tonight.
Johnson and his new teammates have their hands full with the Wings, who lead the Central Division and have an eight-point edge over the Hawks with three games in hand. The Blackhawks really need Corey Crawford to step up and be the up and coming goalie they thought they had four years ago. Marty Turco has his moments, but he appears to be on the decline. The Blackhawks need to start winning home games, too; they've lost nine at the UC already this year, after losing only 11 there all last season.Tonight's game begins at 7:30 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.