The Chicago Blackhawks plan to sign a Hall of Famer on Thursday.
However, Marian Hossa won’t be able to help the Blackhawks when they play host to the expansion Seattle Kraken that night.
Hossa, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, plans to sign a one-day contract and retire as a Blackhawk. He helped the franchise capture Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
“The Blackhawks and city of Chicago hold a special place in my heart,” said Hossa, 43. “Making the commitment to this organization (as a free agent) in 2009 was the best decision I ever made.”
Hossa finished with 1,134 points (525 goals, 609 assists) in 1,309 NHL games for Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago. A skin disorder ended his career after the 2016-17 season.
“To me, the greatest free agent signing in Chicago sports history, Marian was the franchise’s missing piece,” Blackhawks chief executive officer Danny Wirtz said.
The Blackhawks (24-35-11, 59 points) sure could use him on the ice. They have lost five games in a row (0-3-2), including a 3-2 overtime defeat to the visiting Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.
That came on the day the Blackhawks honored captain Jonathan Toews for his 1,000th career game.
“We’ve been on the road for quite a few days these last two weeks,” Toews said. “Sometimes you’ve got to know, you’ve got to have that experience you’re not going to have your legs and it’s not going to be one of those games where you’re just going to roll over the team in the first period in your own building.
“You’re going to have to stick with it, be patient and make things harder on them, and we don’t stick with that. We do it sometimes and other times we fall apart and we’re not putting each other in good positions. It’s just puck management in a lot of situations. The ability to do it is there.”
Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks and Alex DeBrincat had two assists. Over the past eight games, that line has combined for 12 goals and 21 assists on Chicago’s 24 goals.
“I think the three of them just seem to click,” Blackhawks interim coach Derek King said.
The Kraken (22-42-6, 50 points) will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set after taking a 4-1 road loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
Seattle struggled to stay out of the penalty box, giving up six power-play opportunities, though the Blues converted just once. The Kraken came up short on their lone power play, which occurred in the final five minutes.
“When you have to kill six minor penalties, that takes a lot of energy,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said postgame. “Our (penalty) killers did a good job, but it’s tough when you go 6-0 in power plays until very late third period. It tilts the ice their way.
“This group feels like it’s pieced together a little bit here the last two weeks. They have proven to be pretty good teammates. They show up and work hard. Tonight, we’re disappointed. We didn’t come here to lose close.”
Jordan Eberle scored and Chris Driedger made 32 saves for the Kraken, who lost for the third time in four games.
“We’re not going to win too many games when you’re going six penalties to one in the hockey game,” Driedger said. “This was one of those efforts you crumple up and throw away and go and get it the next night.”
–Field Level Media