BOSTON — There are so many unanswered questions from the Blackhawks’ 2-0 loss to the Bruins on Monday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Why didn’t Marian Hossa at least try to play through what is now believed to be a hip injury from a Zdeno Chara cross-check earlier in the series?
Why didn’t Hossa’s replacement, Ben Smith, take the warm-up if there was any chance Hossa might not play, which is what several Hawks revealed was the case after the game, including Jonathan Toews?
Why wasn’t Jamal Mayers used instead of Smith when he took the warm-up?
Why were the Hawks so bad on faceoffs, losing a staggering 71 percent?
Why was Toews on a line with fourth liners Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger for the first half of the game?
We got answers to some of these questions Tuesday, but only the ones the Hawks felt like addressing.
Why Hossa didn’t at least try to play in a Stanley Cup Final game wasn’t one of questions the Hawks wanted any part of.
“He’s going to do what he can do to come back and play,” defenseman Johnny Oduya said. “He’s a top player in this league, and anytime he’s not in the lineup it hurts.”
Quenneville later said he expected Hossa to play in Game 4 on Wednesday.
As for Smith not taking the warm-up, Quenneville walked all around answering the question.
“Ben was ready,” Quenneville said. “I know he was doing everything he can. We were hopeful that Hoss was playing, and Ben was doing everything he could to get ready.”
That contradicts an NHL Network report that said Smith was having lunch with his mom when he was told to get to TD Garden because he was needed to play. Smith hurried to the Garden and dressed quickly after the pregame skate.
“He didn’t really have the typical game-day preparation,” Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. “I don’t even know if he had a nap or a decent meal. He just kind of showed up at the rink, put his skates on and jumped into the Stanley Cup Finals.”
Quenneville was pressed on Smith and offered a different take.
“He would have taken warm-up if we wanted him to take warm-up,” Quenneville said. “He knew there was a chance he was going to play so he was getting himself ready. I just didn’t want to tip our hand that there was something going on.”
Mayers — who has been a good soldier throughout the playoffs, taking part in every warm-up — was said to be angry that Smith got the call instead of him.
“He’s pretty sour,” said a source.
The Hawks lost 40 of 56 faceoffs. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron killed everyone, winning 24 of the 28 draws he took. Michal Handzus was 0-for-10 for the Hawks, Dave Bolland 1-for-7.
“Bergeron had one of those nights you’d like to have in a career,” Quenneville said. “I think across the board we’ve been watching the group of center-men here, digesting it, dissecting it, knowing we have to be better as well.”
Bolland had a miserable game, taking 3 penalties in addition to getting beat up in the faceoff circle. “I guess maybe crowd the circle more when I get in there,” he said. “They’re a good faceoff team.”
As for Toews playing with Frolik and Kruger for much of the game, the captain claimed not to have a problem with it. Still, it was an odd move by Quenneville.
By the end of the game it was Toews playing with Patrick Kane and Sharp.
The Hawks are in a tough spot, and they know it, down 2-1 to the Bruins. Lose Game 4 and the series could be over quickly.
“We’ve just got to come out and have our best effort of the year,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said.
“We have to look at it as a very important game that we have to win,” Quenneville said. “If we come out with a good result we’re right where we want to be.”
ŸFollow Tim’s hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.