Multiple reports from on-the-scene sources indicate that defenseman Nick Boynton collided with right wing Marian Hossa during Chicago Blackhawks team practice this morning. Boyton, apparently, was none the worse for wear, but Hossa had to be helped off the ice to the locker room. Interestingly, neither head coach Joel Quenneville nor assistant coach Mike Kitchen were present. They were attending the funeral of former NHL coach Pat Burns.
Although further details are still forthcoming, this is still troubling news for Hossa who, according to Comcast SportsNet's Brian Ballantine, has already missed as much playing time in just over a season with the Blackhawks than he did in his previous nine seasons. Injuries have cost Hossa 30 games with the 'Hawks, with a mysterious "upper body injury" being the main culprit so far this year.
If there's any comfort, however cold, fans can take from this unfortunate development, it's that the team is free to make whatever personnel moves it needs to should Hossa go back on the DL. In an interview with Comcast SportsNets' Tracey Myers, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said:
[The salary cap is] not an issue right now. We have cap space. We’ve been fortunate recently that we haven’t had injuries. We’re comfortable with the guys that have been playing. We can bring a guy up tomorrow if we want to; it’s not a salary cap issue.
Whether Hossa is seriously injured or not, Bowman was hesitant to put any sort of timetable on when he might make a move to bolster the lines of the embattled team, which sits in third place in the Western Conference's Central division with a 13-11 record. The Blackhawks have played 26 games thus far -- at least four more than any other team in their division.
Like many fans, Bowman cited the 'Hawks play, not necessarily its lineup, as the primary reason behind their lackluster performance thus far. He also mentioned the possibility of simply running into some bad luck, seeing as how the team has fallen prey to a number of one-goal losses.