Chicago Blackhawks: Has the Sleeping Giant Marian Hossa Finally Woken Up?

Cody PughContributor IIIFebruary 25, 2011

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 22:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Black Hawks skates in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on January 22, 2011 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Hawks defeated the Wings 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of a three-game win steak that has pushed them back into the top eight in the Western Conference.

First, it was the nail-biting shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins lastSunday.

Their previous loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets made a win in this game crucial. The Blackhawks gave up two one-goal leads, one of them late in the third period but hung on to win in a shootout.

On Monday the 'Hawks visited St. Louis to play the Blues who were trying to claw their way back into contention.

After a disastrous 2-0 first period, and some harsh words in the locker room from Captain Toews, the 'Hawks rallied, scoring four goals in the second and gave a tremendous effort for the final two periods.

Last night, the Blackhawks shutout their division rivals the Nashville Predators, in an outstanding effort really the entire team.

It's hard to pick a player who didn't perform reasonably well, and the ice time was well distributed.

One thing that all these games have in common, besides two points for the Blackhawks, was that Marian Hossa was his old dominating self and has been so for the past week and a half.

Hossa has logged five points in his last five games, including a breakaway goal in last night's match against Nashville which gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead early in the third period.

Hossa has also recorded 18 shots on goal in the past five games.

Although his numbers aren't particularly impressive, his play in the offensive zone has been as good as it's been since the beginning of the season when he recorded 11 points in seven games.

But it's not just his offensive numbers that makes Hossa's play standout.

Hossa has been a strong defensive force for the Blackhawks. His two-way play has always been highly underrated.

He has been fearlessly blocking shots and killing penalties with efficiency.

He has been one of the Blackhawks' best forecheckers and his defensive effort was a huge contributor to the 3-0 shutout of Nashville.

If Hossa maintains his current play, I cannot see the Blackhawks finishing outside of the top eight in the Western Conference and making the playoffs.

Hossa is among the most dominant two-way players in the game, which is why the Blackhawks signed him two summers ago.

However, he has been asleep for the majority of the season, most likely due to injury and a poor atmosphere in the dressing room.

But his recent play indicates that Hossa is feeding off the success of the Blackhawks first line.

Maybe he's decided enough is enough. Maybe he's sick of mediocrity. Maybe Hossa will take over the reins for the last quarter of the season.

Has the sleeping giant finally woken up? And if so what kind of destruction will he wreak upon the league?

Only time will tell.