There was a long pause from Marian Hossa when the Blackhawks winger was asked if he would benefit or suffer from having five days off between games.
"We'll see, but I don't know, to tell you the truth," Hossa said. "I felt like our team had some good momentum and good pace before the break, and we just have to find it again."
Hossa understands if there are people out there still waiting for him to again be Marian Hossa, big-time goal scorer. He wants to see it, too.
Twice Hossa's season has been interrupted by injuries, and both times upon his return he has struggled to be the dominating player he was early in the season when he had 7 goals in the Hawks' first seven games.
Hossa was showing glimpses of again being an offensive force before this five-day break, although his numbers suggest he is having an overall disappointing season.
Since returning the day after Christmas after missing 10 games with a knee problem, Hossa has just 2 goals in 11 games. He has 3 goals in 25 games since that red-hot start to the season.
"I feel I've been getting chances and playing with a better pace, but for whatever reason the production is not there," Hossa said. "I just have to not think about it and keep working and go through it."
Hossa agrees that he has to start scoring goals if the Hawks are going to achieve what they hope to the rest of the season.
"For sure, no question," Hossa said.
Hossa is the Hawks' ninth-leading scorer with 10 goals and 25 points in the 32 games he has played.
"The skating is there," Hossa said. "I feel like I have back my jump, but obviously I would want to be more productive."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has no problem with Hossa's all-around game. After all, there are few Hawks who backcheck as well as Hossa or are as strong on the puck.
"With the puck, I think right now it's one of his strengths, making plays and protecting it," Quenneville said. "I think getting a little more comfortable with it, maybe you get a little more production off it and it gets a little bit cozier with you.
"I still always appreciate how he plays and what he brings to our team. Sometimes his production gets brought up a little more, but I still think he does so many things that you appreciate that we're happy what he does for us."
Hossa and his teammates need to find the pace quickly after the five days off with the Red Wings waiting today at Joe Louis Arena followed by a Sunday morning date with the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center.
"It's a long break and it let us rest our bumps and bruises, but on the other hand we were playing with a better pace and we don't want to lose it," Hossa said.