Hossa, Kane crucial if Blackhawks hope to reach playoffs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Marian Hossa has just 2 goals in his past 20 games.

    Marian Hossa has just 2 goals in his past 20 games. Associated Press

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com  Blackhawks Patrick Kane in the third period tries to move into position to score in game one of the playoffs at the United Center in Chicago.

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com Blackhawks Patrick Kane in the third period tries to move into position to score in game one of the playoffs at the United Center in Chicago.

  • Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane reacts during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago, Sunday, March 7, 2010. The Red Wings won 5-4.

    Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane reacts during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago, Sunday, March 7, 2010. The Red Wings won 5-4.

 
 
Updated 1/6/2011 8:09 PM

They are the Blackhawks' four most important point producers, but lately only Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews have been making a difference in games.

Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane are in the midst of seasons that border on disappointing thanks in large part to the injuries that still have them off their games.

 

Kane has only 11 goals, none in five games since returning from his high ankle sprain.

Hossa has 9 goals, just 2 in the 20 games he has played since starting the season with 7 goals in the first seven games. Hossa has been twice sidelined by injuries that have limited the explosiveness he showed early.

"The timing after an injury is so crucial and I'm getting there, but it's not yet where I want it to be," Hossa said. "I need to get there sooner or faster because the team needs offense from everybody, including me. I need to find a way to put the puck in the net.

"Not being able to be myself, it is frustrating, but I know I'll be better."

The Hawks probably can't make the playoffs without Hossa and Kane regaining their places as two of hockey's premier offensive stars.

"You need everybody to be part of it, but certainly your top guys, we expect them to be our top players," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's always going to be what makes the ship work and go."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Recovering from a high ankle sprain and playing through the lingering pain isn't easy, but Kane has showed more jump and spark the last two games.

Kane knows it's time for him to step up with the Hawks on the outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference one game into the second half of the season.

"It's important for the team," Kane said. "You can't just have Sharpie and Tazer going. Obviously you've got to have some other guys helping them that are the go-to guys. That's what was so good about our team last year; we had different guys stepping up every night.

"For both of us it's something we take pride in, scoring goals and making plays and trying to help out the offense. When you're not it's definitely not a good feeling, but we know we can get there and for both of us I think we're in the right direction."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hossa scored a goal in Monday's win at Los Angeles and had a great scoring chance early in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Dallas when he failed to convert on a breakaway.

"Sometimes you try to do a little extra and then you're not playing your game," Hossa said. "I just have to find the quiet spots where I can shoot from and open up for my teammates. I have to do it more often.

"We know our jobs and I have to be better. I'm still finding the right timing after the injury and hopefully I can find it soon to help the team win hockey games."

Kane skated on a line with Toews and Viktor Stalberg at practice Thursday. Perhaps being reunited with Toews full time will ignite his game again.

"It's something I never really dealt with before, being out that long with an injury," Kane said. "You're not trying to make excuses for yourself, but I think the last three games I've played pretty good."