DETROIT – Marian Hossa tried to treat Sunday just like any other of the 999 games he has played during his NHL career.
But even before he stepped onto the ice for the 1,000th time at Joe Louis Arena, fans in Detroit made sure he remembered it. When 15-year veteran’s name was announced the Blackhawks’ starters, the boos that accompanied any mention of the visiting team, grew louder.
Every time Hossa touched the puck during the first period of the Hawks’ 2-1 shootout win, the boos returned. When Hossa was recognized in between the first and second periods with a public address announcement and by having an image of him in a Red Wings sweater on the JumboTron, the reception was more boos than cheers.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Hossa said afterward. “It wasn’t loud or anything and so I just kept playing.
“I tried to focus and do my thing, but definitely, it was nice we [kept the win streak going] on my 1,000th game.”
Hossa is in his fourth season with the Hawks after spending the 2008-09 campaign in Detroit when he scored 40 goals and had 31 assists. On Sunday, he became the 283rd player in NHL history to reach the milestone. Hossa said his teammates congratulated him before Sunday’s game before his former team acknowledged the feat during the game. Hossa waved to the crowd after the announcement.
“That definitely was a class act by their organization – I spent, what I think, was a great year in Detroit,” Hossa said. “So, that was definitely nice for them.”
Hawks coach Joel Quennville said he was glad the Hawks could pull out a victory to mark the occasion, running their streak of games with at least a point to 22 games.
“He’s the ultimate pro, and he should be proud of his career and his achievements,” Quenneville said. “He’s a dangerous player in all aspects. He’s just the perfect guy to coach and plays the team system to a tee and we’re happy to have him.”
Patrick Kane had a busy afternoon. Even before scoring the game-tying goal with 2:02 remaining in regulation and then the game-winner, Kane skated double shifts when Quenneville “pulled an audible” after warm-ups and started seven defensemen. With the Hawks down a forward, Quenneville asked Kane to put in some extra work.
Quenneville wouldn’t comment when asked if an injury caused him to re-think his lineup, saying only that he made an adjustment.
Kane, who logged 23:29 on the ice, said he was skating double shifts for the last half of the first period after Quenneville asked if he was up for giving the Hawks’ offense a boost. Quenneville said he’s always mindful of asking players to do more, especially given the shortened season and the frequency with which teams play. The Hawks are currently in a stretch when they’ll play seven games in 11 games.
But Kane said he’s always up for more ice time.
“He always asks if you’re ready to go, and I always say yes,” Kane said. “Sometimes you’re a little bit tired but once you get out there, you can get off the ice a little bit, you catch your breath pretty quick.”
Quenneville said of all the players he has asked to take on a double shift, Kane is in a category of one.
“Kaner’s one guy that has never said no,” Quenneville said. “There’s some guys that would be dead tired and so you don’t even bother asking, but Kaner, if you look at him, he’s ready to go.”
Quenneville said he expects second-line center Dave Bolland to be ready to return to the lineup when the Hawks host Minnesota on Tuesday night at the United Center. Bolland suffered a lower body injury Feb. 1 against Vancouver and had been day-to-day over the past couple of weeks. ... Defenseman Steve Montator remains unable to play, but has been improving, Quenneville said. Montador hasn’t been able to skate with his teammates while experiencing concussion-like symptoms and has not yet been cleared to play.