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updated: 3/16/2014 11:21 PM

Hawks happy to have Hossa back

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  • The Blackhawks' Marian Hossa scores against Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard in the third period Sunday. Hossa also had a pair of assists.

    The Blackhawks' Marian Hossa scores against Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard in the third period Sunday. Hossa also had a pair of assists.
    Associated Press


In his first 300 games with the Blackhawks, Marian Hossa racked up 265 points with an astounding plus-96 rating.

Before returning from an upper-body injury Sunday night against Detroit, the 35-year-old winger had accumulated 50 points in 57 games this season while sporting a simply ridiculous plus-25 rating.

Oh, and he also boasts an NHL-leading 65 take-aways, and, just for good measure, leads all active players with 29 short-handed goals.

But if you ever heard Hossa boast about any of those numbers, that would be the first time ever, because the guy never brags … ever.

And that's among the many characteristics that make No. 81 so valuable and so revered amongt his teammates.

"His veteran leadership is -- bar none -- probably the best in the league," said Kris Versteeg, who skated alongside Hossa and Jonathan Toews in the Hawks' 4-1 victory over the Red Wings.

"I've never seen a guy at his age be so humble. I've been on many teams and played with many guys, and he's someone I look up to."

In the five games Hossa missed since injuring himself in the outdoor game against Pittsburgh at Soldier Field, the Blackhawks were 2-3. And overall in games he has missed this season, the Hawks are a middling 5-5.

Playing in game No. 301 of his Hawks career Sunday at the United Center all Hossa did was score a goal and add a pair of assists for his 14th multipoint game of the season to help the Hawks snap a rare two-game losing streak.

"I guess you could say it was pretty evident tonight that we have been missing him the last couple of weeks," said Ben Smith, who finished with 1 goal and 1 assist. "To get him back and to get a performance like that from him was special. It gives us a lot of motivation moving forward."

Hossa's presence was felt all over the ice as he recorded 3 shots, a couple of take-aways and finished the evening with a plus-2 rating.

"He changes the complexion of our team game. It made a big difference tonight having him back," coach Joel Quenneville said.

"It's great to come back and try to help the team," Hossa said.

In addition to Smith's first career game-winning goal, Nick Leddy scored on the power play and Toews added a shorty to give Corey Crawford (19 saves) quite a comfortable lead, something that hasn't often been the case lately.

"Everybody expects us to score 5 goals each game, but it's the best league in the world, and especially toward the end of the season, you're going to face great defensive teams," Hossa said. "Even our team is going to have a time to grind for the puck. If we have to do it, we'll be fine with it."

There's that leadership again.

"He's going to be a Hall of Famer, and there's a reason for it," Versteeg said. "Being able to skate alongside him is an absolute pleasure."

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