The Hat Trick: Week Eight In the NHL

Matt SitkoffCorrespondent INovember 23, 2009

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 21:  Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings stretches out to stop the puck on the shootout attempt by Mike Cammalleri #13 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game on November 21, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Red Wings defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

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The NHL should be giving thanks for all the young stars in the league.  Having marketing figures like Crosby and Ovechkin has made fans forget about the loss season.  Every team in the league has a young star to be excited about, number one overall picks are producing and 18-20 year olds are proving they belong with the big boys. 

The NHL is getting stuffed these days so let’s crack open the cranberry’s and this week’s Pucking Awesome Hat Trick.

The Return of Hossa:  

The most anticipated Blackhawk debut is schedule to happen this week as Marian Hossa will return from offseason shoulder surgery.  The winger signed a controversial 12-year, $62.8 million contract from the divisional rival Red Wings has been skating with the team all week. 

Head coach Joel Quenneville have been skating him in practice with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  I would not be surprised if that is the line Hossa works with to start, it is important for the winger to come out strong and make a good impression on the fans and more important his teammates.  All of the NHL will be watching his return and more critical is how the Blackhawks finagle the cap.

Detroit Rock Infirmary:

When will enough be enough as the Red Wings have loss another big name player to an injury.  Niklas Kronwall is out 4-8 weeks due to a knee injury, on a dirty hit by Canadiens menace Georges Laraque.  The Red Wings have always been heralded as a team that just fits parts into the whole no matter who is there or not there.  This season the injuries are catching up to the team shown in their subpar start. 

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Kronwall Is added to the list that includes Johan Franzen (torn ACL out till March), Valtteri Filppula (broken wrist out till late December), Jason Williams (fractured fibula out till mid-January, Andreas Lilja (concussion out indefinitely).  I will be watching out the walking wounded Wings will do with a busy four games in six days.

Game Of The Week:  

I know obvious pick would be the big Sharks and Blackhawks, top two teams in the West, Blackhawks debut for Hossa, but I also will be watching a game between two of the hottest teams in the NHL.  The Predators have won five-straight games host the Florida Panthers, who have points in their last six games (5-0-1). 

The Predators first line of Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan and J.P. Dumont has been on fire of lately, as well as the power play as the Predators have 12 power play goals in last 13 games.  The Panthers have a tough stretch this week with home games against the Penguins and Rangers before facing the Predators on Saturday. 

The cats from down south have been amazingly on this run without arguable their best player, as David Booth is still out with concussion symptoms.  They have been led by Nathan Horton with two goals and four assists is riding a five-game point streak.  Of course watch the big Hossa debut but don’t forget to tune in two teams on the rise.

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