Marian Hossa's Debut Puts Chicago Blackhawks Into NHL's Driver Seat

Forrest KobayashiSenior Analyst INovember 26, 2009

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks is stopped by goalie Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the San Jose Sharks during their game at HP Pavilion on November 25, 2009 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Coming into their game with the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks were considered one of the favorites in the Western Conference.

Now, they may have become the team to beat.

Marian Hossa made his debut with the Chicago Blackhawks after missing the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury. Needless to say, he made quite a statement.

Hossa tallied two goals on four shots, with a +1 rating—good enough for the first star in the game.

Hossa's return is huge for the Blackhawks, who signed him to a 12-year, $62.8 million deal this past July.

The team is in line for a massive offensive upgrade, and it showed tonight against a tough Sharks team. San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov came into the game with a .926 save percentage and a 2.19 GAA, but it clearly did not faze Hossa.

After tonight's game, the Blackhawks are fifth in the league with 3.26 goals per game. Expect that to rise as Hossa continues to familiarize himself with his teammates and his surroundings.

Hossa is surrounded by a plethora of offensive talent—Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp will help Hossa maximize his scoring potential.

While projecting his line on any given night could be a difficult task, Hossa will undoubtedly get enough ice time to keep the Blackhawks scoring, night in and night out.

The Blackhawks look to continue their stellar play in California, with away games against the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings on Friday and Saturday.