When the United Center public-address announcer introduced the No. 1 star after Tuesday night's historic 4-3 Blackhawks' shootout victory over the Canucks, Marian Hossa was nowhere on the ice to be found. He had left the game during the third period after a cheap shot to the back of the head from Canucks forward Jannik Hansen that the NHL justifiably will review. Even if Hossa didn't have a concussion history thanks to a similarly thuggish hit in last year's playoffs, the image of an elite player laying facefirst after Hansen's forearm shiver would have dampened the mood of everybody. At least this time Hossa didn't need a stretcher to go to the dressing room. Indeed the Hawks tied an NHL record by earning at least one point in 16 straight games to start the season, but lingering concerns over Hossa made it feel like a bittersweet 16. Coach Joel Quenneville sounded an optimistic tone afterward, but until Hossa returns to action, nobody in Chicago will exhale. How fitting for the Hawks in a season in which everything has gone their way that they eventually turned their misfortune into an advantage. Quenneville replaced Hossa as the third shootout shooter with Andrew Shaw, whose nifty backhand game-winning goal past Canucks goalie Cory Schneider made the crowd smile again. "I guess you can get some pretty ones once in a while,'' Shaw said. "I heard my name and I was nervous. Scared, actually. But I won't forget this.'' Just 24 hours earlier, when Patrick Kane was marveling at how cool it felt for the Blackhawks to start the year on such a historic streak, Shaw arched his eyebrows in bemusement. "Streak? What streak?'' he asked. The kid was serious. Shaw knew how many stitches he received after his first NHL fight but couldn't tell you how many straight games the Hawks had earned a point. A happy scrapper, Shaw goes through hockey season with his head down and fists clenched. "I really don't know,'' Shaw said sheepishly. Kane later made fun of Shaw's naivete at an Old Town eatery Monday during a WGN-AM 720 appearance. Shaw shared his philosophy about fighting: "Hit him before he hits you,'' the 180-pounder said. Kane called his stint in Switzerland a humbling experience and revealed he still hoped to meet LeBron James one day because "(James) wants to prove his critics wrong.''
'Humble swagger' fits these Hawks
Chicago Tribune | Feb 20