Chicago forward Marian Hossa skated during the pregame warm-up, but about 15 minutes before the start of Monday’s Game 3 against Boston, the Blackhawks announced Hossa was scratched from the game.
Hossa’s surprise scratch – and the one-word explanation, “upper,” for the part of his body that was injured – is part of a long-running cat-and-mouse game NHL teams play on the theory that any information about injuries is a competitive disadvantage.
“I think that’s self-explanatory,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, declining to explain why he declined to explain the secrecy surrounding Hossa’s injury.
Hossa is expected to play in Game 4 on Wednesday, Quenneville said, but only after making clear that “I’m not going to get (into) exactly what the injury is or where it occurred.”
One of the main reasons teams and players are vague about injuries is they don’t want opponents to attack the injured part of the player’s body.
“If I’m going out to battle and I have an injury to any part of my body, I don’t want the other side to know what it is,” Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said.
Tony Amonte, a five-time All-Star and former Blackhawks player who’s now an analyst for the Bruins on CSN New England (he attended Boston University), criticized Hossa.
Amonte scored 40 or more goals three times for the Blackhawks and played 572 out of 574 regular-season games for Chicago from 1995-2002.
“You’re in the Stanley Cup Final. You play until you can’t play anymore,” Amonte said. “You give whatever you can to your organization and that’s the way most guys will do it. That’s what (Bruins forward) Nathan Horton’s doing right now.”
Horton, of course, has an unspecified upper body injury.
A RATINGS HIT
Game 3 drew the most viewers for the NHL on NBC Sports Network since the cable channel started televising the league in 2006.
NBCSports averaged just over 4 million viewers, topping the 3.96 million for Game 2. Last year’s second game on the network, Game 4 between the Devils and Kings, drew nearly 2.1 million.
The Red Wings agreed to a $22.5 million, three-year deal with center Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time winner of the Selke Trophy for top defensive forward. … Defenseman and potential free agent Mark Streit agreed to a four-year $21 million contract with Philadelphia, less than a week after the Flyers acquired the Islanders captain. … Defenseman Slava Voynov agreed to a six-year, $25 million contract with the Kings after scoring four game-winning goals this postseason for Los Angeles. … The Sharks agreed to a contract extension with star center Logan Couture to keep him off the free-agent market next summer. … Scotiabank Place, home of the Ottawa Senators, will be renamed Canadian Tire Centre.