It was a tough loss for the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night. The team was coming off a stellar win against Minnesota Saturday, and with Brian Campbell back in the lineup for the first time this season, the Blackhawks were amped for another win.
The New York Rangers had different plans.
With 35 hits and 33 shot blocks, the Rangers bullied themselves into a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks. Those stats are a coach's dream, and the Blackhawks had reason to suspect such a tough matchup, but they came just a little unprepared for such a physical battle.
It could be said that Blackhawks needed that extra physical force on the team. Too bad that player is currently injured with an upper body injury.
I am talking about Marian Hossa.
People knew his injury last week would have a tremendous impact on the Blackhawks in their defense and offense game. Hossa, before the injury, had seven goals, four assists and a plus/minus rating of positive-four. He was on track to finally get that 40+ goals a season the Blackhawks had hoped he'd do with them.
Once again it was cut short by injury.
The Blackhawks are not a known physical team. That's not their strong suit. But Hossa does bring that toughness and intensity every time he steps on the ice. No one brings that man down, and it's incredibly hard to separate him from the puck. Oh, did I mention he can score?
That's what makes Marian Hossa such a force in the NHL. He is one of the elite players in the NHL that does not get bullied by anyone.
That's what the Blackhawks were missing Monday night.
An extra offensive push would've been great, and maybe even could have won them the game. The Blackhawks had plenty of chances to do so, but were always cut short due to the physicality of the Rangers.
Good news came to Chicago when word came out that Brian Campbell was returning. Only to be followed by Dave Bolland going on the IR with an upper body injury, and will not be able to play until Saturday at the earliest.
Depth is key in the NHL, and it's becoming clear the Blackhawks don't have the kind of depth they had last season. The constant injuries to key players also isn't helping.
If the Blackhawks want to stay competitive in this league the injuries are going to have to slow down. It's unfortunate and almost always impossible to control, but that's what's going to have to happen for this Blackhawk team to win games.